JAMESTOWN — This is the first time in 12 years Philip and Toby Cherney have been apart.
"This virus is real and gut-wrenching. The fact that I have been unable to see my husband or touch him to let him know we are there and fighting for him is by far the worst experience in my life it tears my heart up everyday," said Toby Cherney in a written statement to WDAY.
Philip Cherney began showing symptoms of COVID-19 after Halloween. On Nov. 7, he had to go to Jamestown Regional Medical Center after his symptoms got worse.
Toby Cherney got COVID-19 herself and remained asymptomatic. She also has been unable to work since getting laid off from her job because of the pandemic.
She has lived in Jamestown for 27 years, and married her husband Philip Cherney 12 years ago. Their five kids, she says, just miss their dad.
"Family is extremely important and the emotional toll this is having on everyone is real no matter which side you are on," she said.
The Cherneyhe family is waiting to see if Philip's coronavirus tests comes back negative. If the test is negative, he can be moved to a non-COVID intensive care bed and have visitors.
"I can never repay all the doctors and nurses and caseworkers who have been there, taking care of my husband and the long hours they spend trying to keep me updated," Toby Cherney said. "They are truly amazing people. "Words can not express how grateful we are to them."
Toby says they've always been private people, so the outpouring of community support has been overwhelming in a good way.
"Well, obviously it's very painful to all of us. That is why I am so happy to see how our congregation and others in our community have rallied around this," said Pastor Tom Eckstein of Concordia Lutheran Church in Jamestown.
Stutsman county now has had 2,424 total COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 424 active cases as of Monday, Nov. 23.
"I want people to know we are seeing those messages and they mean the world to us," said Cherney.