LISTOWEL, ONT. -- Seventy-seven-year-old Ivan Suggitt tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 29. His daughter says things went downhill very quickly from there.

“He was admitted to hospital on Friday (Nov. 30). He was stable. His oxygen was monitoring well. We got the call on Friday (Dec. 4), that he was getting worse, and within 24 hours, he was dead,” explains his daughter, Dr. Terry Suggitt.

Terry, who is a physician at Listowel Memorial Hospital, wouldn’t get a chance to say goodbye to her father.

No one in their family did, because her husband, two children, and mother all contracted COVID-19 and have been in quarantine for the past two weeks.

“I last saw my father in person when I took him to the hospital on Nov. 30,” she says.

“I can’t even hug my son because he is currently, negative. If I hug him I could pass it onto him. He’s 15 and dealing the fact that his grandfather just died,” says an emotional Suggitt.

She says she didn’t get the virus from working at the hospital. Instead her father contracted it while working with someone on a project. She says they wore masks, and tried to socially distance, but that wasn’t enough.

“It broke down somewhere and my father got COVID, and unfortunately he was not symptomatic initially, and probably passed it on to the rest of us before we knew it,” she says.

The Suggitts, except for their 15-year-old son, are all out of quarantine now, and slowly recovering from their COVID-19 symptoms as well as the loss of their beloved father and grandfather.

They have a message for families still considering getting together, in person, over the holidays. Don’t.

“It’s one Christmas. If you want your loved one to be there next year, don’t get together with them in physical ways,” Terry says.

A COVID-19-restricted funeral visitation for Ivan Suggitt will take place in Listowel on Jan. 1, 2021.

A Gowanstown, Ont. native, he is survived by his wife, three children, and five grandchildren. The 77-year-old was the 19th person to perish from COVID-19 in Huron and Perth counties since the beginning of the pandemic.