The wife and daughter of popular local sales official Mike Baskette tearfully described his fatal ordeal with COVID-19.
At a county press conference, Emily, his wife of 47 years, said he was a "germophobe" and regularly wore his mask. She said the family still does not know how he got the virus. She said, "He wore a mask to protect himself and others. Someone out there did not protect him."
Melissa said it was Aug. 7 when he received "the call that nobody wants to get." He was told his COVID test came back positive.
She said it was a week later when Emily dropped him off at the Memorial Hospital Emergency Room and no one in the family ever saw him again.
Melissa said her father had been in good health, but four days later his condition had worsened so that "the most awful thing happened. He had to go on the vent."
She said the family "was not able to see him or touch him. We could do Facebook Live, but it wasn't the same. He couldn't communicate back to us. He was so heavily sedated that he could not respond to us."
Melissa said, "He had to lie up there lonely with people he didn't know. Who likes to see your family member like that? Nobody."
Melissa said on Sept. 6 there was a call from the hospital that Mike was at the end of life. She said, "It's the hardest thing. You still can't say goodbye. You get there and you still can't go in the room with him to hug and kiss him and tell him goodbye."
She said, "Why wouldn't you want to save a life by wearing a mask the proper way over the mouth? I don't want another family to go through this.
"Everyone please do your part so you don't get heart-broken like our family is. This is a very real virus. It's not a joke."
County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he "lost a very dear friend" in the passing of Mike Baskette.
He said, "This shows how you can be impacted so quickly and how it so changes your life."
The Baskette statement can be seen at