LAKELAND, Fla. — A Polk County woman lost her life to COVID-19 after her husband contracted the virus.  Her family believes the tragedy all started at the nursing home where he was getting rehab.

What You Need To Know

To family and friends, 64-year-old David Davis and his 69-year-old wife Teresa were known as “The Love Birds.” The couple met in the early 1980s while working at Bee Gee Shrimp in Lakeland. From that moment on, they only had eyes for each other.

“It was a love like no other,” said son Shane Davis. “Every day, him and her. They never went anywhere without each other.  It was just love that everybody wants.”

Shane Davis said his mother was right by her husband’s side when David had a stroke in March and planned to take care of him when he came home from rehab at Lakeland Hills Center, a nursing home in Lakeland. David was discharged on May 13, and Shane said the family was warned two people at the facility had tested positive for COVID-19.

Within days of returning home, both David and Teresa began showing symptoms of the virus.

“She just called me and said she was experiencing flu-like symptoms.  She was just very sick,” Shane Davis said. “It was just like the worst flu she ever had.”

The couple was taken to an area hospital, and though David’s condition seemed worse than his wife's at first, it was Teresa’s health that continued to decline.

Shane called his mother every day to check on her but said all his mother cared about was how his father was doing. Shane said he asked about her every time they talked, up until the very end.

“We ended the phone call, I had to go into work that night so I told her I would call her the next day,” Shane said. “There was no phone calls after that.”

Teresa Davis died on June 2, nearly three weeks after her husband came home from Lakeland Hills Center. 

Spectrum Bay News 9 contacted the facility several times about both this incident and about the COVID-19 virus outbreak at the nursing home, but we have yet to hear back. According to numbers from the state, Lakeland Hills Center had just two people test positive for COVID-19 at the time David Davis was discharged.  Those numbers continued to rise, and as of this week, the state reports the facility has had a total of 77 people test positive.

Shane Davis said he feels strongly that when it came to discharging his father, things should’ve been handled differently.

“They should test all their patients. All these rehab facilities and nursing homes,” Shane said. “If a patient is going home, they need to be tested. To be made sure they’re not going home to their loved ones with this.”

Now Shane said he’s left to pick up the pieces for his dad, who is still in the hospital two months later.

“Every day he cries,” Shane said.  “It’s just a lot of crying. A lot of asking questions.” 

The hardest one being how this could have happened, just two days before the couple’s 35th wedding anniversary. 

It would've been a milestone they planned to celebrate like they did every year — with dinner and a dance.

Sign up now for one of our newsletters that will show up in your inbox every weekday at 1 p.m. The newsletters highlight the most important stories of the day that you need to know for your area.

Spectrum News 13 newsletter

Spectrum Bay News 9 newsletter