Coronavirus in Virginia

94-Year-Old Woman Beats Odds, Overcomes COVID-19

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A Virginia woman missed her 94th birthday because of her battle with the coronavirus, but she beat the odds to recover.

Ruby Joyce, a retired teacher still active in church and clubs who socialized with Rosa Parks as a young woman, contracted the coronavirus in her assisted living apartment at Arbor Terrace.

“She was talking slower,” her daughter-in-law Johnetta Joyce said. “She didn’t appear to have much energy. My husband and I said something’s not right.”

Her family felt something was wrong, and 911 was called.

“I was taken to the hospital kicking and screaming, because I didn’t think I needed to go, and if I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t be here now,” Ruby said.

Coronavirus Cases & Deaths in Long-Term Care Facilities

COVID-19 cases and deaths in long-term care facilities in D.C. and Maryland.

Source: Maryland Coronavirus, DC Coronavirus Data
Credit: Anisa Holmes/NBC Washington

She tested positive for the coronavirus and quickly deteriorated.

On her birthday two weeks ago, Ruby was unresponsive in her hospital bed.

“She would just lie there, lifeless, and that made it worse,” her daughter-in-law said. “And we called her name but she couldn’t hear us and wasn’t responding to us.”

Her family asked family and friends for prayers. Fearing the worst, they gathered extended family on a Zoom call, but the very next day Ruby recovered after two days on a feeding tube, her family said.

“The next morning, she called sounding normal,” said her son, Michael Joyce.

The family credits diligent caregivers at Reston Hospital Center for not giving up on a 94-year-old. They also credit the prayers.

“Prayer really does change things,” Ruby said. “And I’m a living witness; I’m a testimony to it. People prayed for me all over the world, and the prayer was answered. Here I am. Ninety-four years old.”

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