9 months and over 1,000 deaths later, FOX13 talks to family of first person to die from COVID-19 in Shelby Co.

Watch: FOX13 talks to family of first person to die from COVID-19 in Shelby Co.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The number of COVID-19 deaths in Shelby County crossed the one thousand mark this week.

Kenneth Bradshaw was the first person in Shelby County to die from COVID-19 back in March.

FOX13 spoke with Bradshaw’s family to get their perspective on the pandemic nine months later.

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Ladarius Carruthers is the grandson of Kenneth Bradshaw. Carruthers works at UTHSC where Bradshaw was the Director of Facilities Administration and says his grandfather was truly a father figure for him.

He told FOX13 the death of his grandfather happened very fast. He said he never thought the virus would have such a major impact.

“This is all just shocking,” Carruthers said. “It’s really overwhelming. It’s just crazy. You don’t expect stuff like this. I feel like it kind of woke a lot of us up.”

Carruthers says his family is doing its best during this time.

“We’ve been doing better than we was,” he said. “Everything just happened so fast. We’ve just been praying and keeping our heads high and just keep going because that’s what he would want us to do.”

Carruthers says a retirement party was held for his grandfather at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He says a few days passed before Bradshaw started showing symptoms before being taken to the hospital.

Carruthers says even then he didn’t know it would be serious.

“I thought it was just something that was over there in the other countries,” Carruthers said. “Because I wasn’t thinking you know flights from here, everywhere. Everything’s global. So everybody’s everywhere. So basically, it’s here you know what I mean? I wasn’t thinking like that.”

Carruthers says the loss of his grandfather was certainly a wake-up call.

“This is serious,” Carruthers said. “You’ve got to take real precautions. You’ve gotta think about other people. You go out and not wear your mask you might go around somebody else that might get sick. It might not affect you the same way it affects somebody else.”

Not even a year removed from losing his grandfather, Carruthers shared a message to those who still don’t take this virus seriously.

“This stuff is real,” he said. “It’s impacting real families. All you gotta do is follow the protocols. I promise you will not want your family to be one of the ones to catch COVID. It’s no joke.”

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