Sara Hadad-Dembs and her husband, Cole Dembs, pose for a photo during their March travels, a few days before they tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Sara Hadad-Dembs)

KFSK has had doctors, epidemiologists and other experts on air over the past year talking about the Coronavirus pandemic.

But how has it been for residents who have had COVID or their loved ones?

KFSK has reached out to them to find out. Many have declined interviews because it’s a sensitive subject. Some felt pressure to not disagree with their neighbors and said they didn’t want to ruffle any feathers.

But some have come forward to share their experiences.

Sara Hadad-Dembs and her husband Cole Dembs tested positive for COVID after returning from a short trip March 8. They both had some severe symptoms. Demb’s 90-year-old mother, whom they are caring for, also got the virus but she didn’t have any symptoms. She was fully vaccinated.

In an interview, Hadad-Dembs told Angela Denning that COVID really hit her and her husband hard for a few weeks and they still get tired sometimes.

Hadad-Dembs says having COVID has been rough. Her husband works at a mine in Juneau and has had to miss about eight weeks of work because of his rotation and the quarantine schedule.

Ruby Shumway watches her son, Owen, in the hospital. He was born during the pandemic and later needed open heart surgery. (Photo by Tim Shumway)

We’ve heard from several people who have had Covid (see their interviews below). Our next story is a little different. Ruby Shumway grew up in Petersburg and is now a nurse who has been answering the COVID hotline for Petersburg Medical Center this past year. She also had a baby boy—Owen–who needed open heart surgery.

She told Angela Denning that she and her husband, Tim Shumway, struggled with the stress of keeping their son safe during the pandemic.

Ruby Shumway and her family are now fully vaccinated and she feels better about protecting her baby from the coronavirus. Owen ended up having open heart surgery in Portland and is now like a normal 5-month-old.

Megan Litster (left) with her husband, Cody Litster, and their four children. (Photo courtesy of Megan Litster)

Megan Litster was the first person in Petersburg to get COVID. Last March, she had traveled with her mom down south and came back with the virus. She lost her sense of smell for five months and had other symptoms.

In her interview with Angela Denning, she says she was recovered from COVID by the time her positive test result came back.

Pete and Kris Erickson have lost a few family members to COVID. Pete himself caught it last March and still can’t smell or taste most food. (Photo courtesy of Kris Erickson)

Pete Erickson caught COVID last March and lost his sense of smell and taste. A year later, it’s still not back. During an interview with Angela Denning, Pete Erickson was running a tug boat and his wife Kris Erickson was talking from home.

The couple lives in Washington temporarily but spent their life in Petersburg and plan to retire here. They lost Pete’s dad, Pete Erickson Sr., who has been the only Petersburg resident to die from the disease. The couple says they’ve had several other family members with COVID, some with serious complications.

Callie Bell is a Petersburg resident who contracted COVID-19 at the end of February during a community outbreak. (Photo courtesy of Callie Bell)

Callie Bell says she was part of the recent outbreak of COVID cases in town. She contracted it along with her 5-year-old daughter, Bristol.

In an interview with Angela Denning, Bell says she got infected when the outbreak hit towards the end of February.

Debby Eddy works at the Petersburg School District and is also an athlete. She told Angela Denning that she tested positive for COVID on February 24 as part of the town’s outbreak. She found out that she was a close contact to a positive person and started having symptoms soon after. Through careful planning though, her husband never got it.

Debby Eddy with her husband, Jaime Eddy. (Photo courtesy of Debby Eddy)

This is an on-going radio series. If you would like to share your experience with COVID, please contact Angela at KFSK at (907) 772-3808 or email