A husband’s plea: ‘I just wish everyone would be more vigilant’


Joe Agocs has no idea how his wife contracted COVID-19.
The Petrolia woman was one of the first in Lambton County to be diagnosed with the virus. Lynda Agocs died Saturday.
For some time, doctors thought Lynda was having a reaction to a new medication to diabetes. But 11 days ago, the 69 year-old woke up in their apartment at Queen Victoria Place, struggling for breath saying she needed to go to the hospital.
Joe helped her into their car, took her to Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital and dropped her off at the door. Because of the restrictions around people in the hospital, Joe couldn’t go inside with her. Eleven days later, she died at Bluewater Health, one of the latest victims of the respiratory virus which has now killed eight people in Lambton.
Lynda Agocs loved to travel and bake for her grandchildren and spending time with her friends, many of whom she made through the theatre. She and Joe had been part of the Petrolia Community Theatre for years, Lynda working behind the scenes, Joe taking roles in local productions.
They went to Sarnia working with the community theatre, Lynda, off stage, working on costumes and props, Joe taking roles in the productions, something he says Lynda shied away from. “You would have to have a gun to get her on stage,” says her husband.
Eventually, the pair spent most of their time working with the Sarnia Little Theatre. Lynda joined the board of the Western Ontario Drama League as a director and over the last year, served as its president.
In January, Lynda went back to the stage, working with a friend on a community theatre production as the stage manager.
Lynda had also been diagnosed with diabetes and Joe says she was working hard to get the symptoms under control through diet and medication. Doctors tried a new medication, but it was making her sick. So she was prescribed something to calm her stomach and it seemed to be helping, but she was tired, sleeping 18 to 20 hours a day.
Then, Lynda was so short of breath, she was taken to hospital. She called Joe after seeing a doctor saying it looked like pneumonia. As she became worse, Lynda was taken to hospital in Sarnia where she was put on a ventilator.
Eventually, she wasn’t able to move her limbs and her kidney’s were failing.
Thursday, Joe and his children talked to her by video conference to say goodbye. She passed away Saturday.
Joe says the family is “buffaloed” how she got the virus.
No one in their family or friend group at Queen Victoria Place ever showed any signs of COVID-19. They did come in contact with some people who had travelled internationally, but they had been in isolation for 14 days before then.
Agocs says it seems to have happened “randomly.
“It really doesn’t matter,” he says adding what is important now is that people understand how easily COVID-19 can be spread and that while some people have milder symptoms – like he suffered over the past two weeks in quarantine – others will die.
“I just wish everybody would be more vigilant,” Agocs says.
“People may feel okay and say ‘I’ll suffer the consequences myself.’ That’s not the problem…they could be infecting unsuspecting people, vulnerable people.”
The Agocs family, like so many others, were not able to gather to share memories of Lynda and grieve together because of the rules on physical distancing and only having 10 people at a funeral.
Her husband says Lynda didn’t want a funeral anyway. A memorial service will be planned. That, says Joe, will have to wait until “this is all over and it is safe to be out again…to get back together in groups…I have no idea when that will be.”