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'Please protect yourselves': Georgia state representative urges safety after losing husband to COVID-19

"I want to encourage everyone listening and watching today to be mindful that COVID-19 has not gone away, it is still here in this country," Patty Bentley said.

MACON, Ga. — It's slowed down, but people in Central Georgia are still getting COVID-19, and some are dying.

Georgia state representative Patty Bentley lost her husband of 12 years to the virus Monday night. 

"Oh, we had a good bond," Bentley said. 

Rep. Bentley remembers her husband Darryl Bentley as being a great partner, father to five, and friend to many.

"We did a lot of things together," Bentley said. 

The couple celebrated their 12th anniversary this past Sunday.

Unlike past years, they celebrated in a hospital room. 

Just one day later, Darryl passed away.

"I'm just trying to accept the fact that my husband has passed away from such a horrible disease," Bentley said.

Darryl got sick at the end of December. 

Patty says there were no hospital beds in Macon or Atlanta, so they transferred him to Savannah for a bed.

"That was really hard on me. However, I did what I needed to do to be there to support my husband. He's sick, he was in the hospital, and I needed to be there," Bentley said.

Bentley says she was disappointed because she wasn't able to visit her husband as much as she wanted.

In the first few months after he tested positive, she says coronavirus restrictions kept her from being by his side.

"I want people to think a lot about that. You could be in the same predicament if you contract this virus and have to be sent miles and miles away from your family. Please protect yourselves," Bentley said.

Bentley says she understands that it's summer and people want to get outside, but she's urging people to be mindful.

"I want to encourage everyone listening and watching today to be mindful that COVID-19 has not gone away, it is still here in this country. I am begging everyone to please get vaccinated, protect yourself, please continue to do the things the CDC has recommended us to do," Bentley said.

Representative Bentley says her husband's home-going celebration is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Macon Centreplex.

His viewing will take place at Bentley and Sons Funeral Home Saturday at noon.

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