East Columbus High alumnus dies of Covid-19

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COLUMBUS COUNTY (WWAY) — After struggling with Covid-19 for months, a college senior who once called the Cape Fear her home has died.

Jamesha Waddell attended East Columbus High School, and was a senior at Livingstone College before she died Thursday.

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Family and friends are still mourning her loss. Her Spanish teacher at East Columbus High, Justin Furlow, says she was a hard worker and a sweet student.

“She was quiet, kind,” Furlow says, “You know, helped her classmates out. She was talkative when you got her into her group. She had a group of friends and sisters and family that when she got around she’d open up. But other than that, she just kind of kept to herself.”

After experiencing Coronavirus symptoms and testing positive September 19, Waddell left Livingstone’s campus in Salisbury and quarantined at home.

But over time, the college senior’s condition grew worse.

She spent her twenty third birthday in the hospital, and Thursday morning, she died in the intensive care unit.

“I guess you kind of expect it to be something to happen to people who are a little bit older,” Furlow reasoned, still shocked. “To someone in a different stage of life. Not to somebody who has their whole life ahead of them.”

Just months from graduation, Dr. Anthony Davis, Livingstone’s Chief Operations Officer says Waddell planned to pursue a career in criminal justice. Instead, the 23-year-old is gone, and her grandmother, stepfather, mother, and uncle are all fighting the virus.

“The haunting reality is that Covid-19 impacts our community in ways that it doesn’t impact other communities,” Davis explains.

African Americans make up about 22 percent of North Carolina’s population, and according to the state, almost 30 percent of Covid-19 hospitalization cases.

Livingstone, a historically Black university, is taking this time to remind students how important it is to stay safe.

“Resist the appetite for large gatherings,” says Davis, “maintain social distancing. Wear your mask…wear you mask…wear your mask, and wash your hands.”

As of Thursday, almost 5,000 North Carolinians have died from Covid-19, and 16 percent of the total cases are between the ages of 18 to 24, like Waddell.

“She was a bright spirit on our campus. Someone who the students loved. It’s been said over the last day or so, to know her was to love her.”

More than 250,000 Americans have died from Covid-19 so far this year, and if there’s anything you can take away from Jamesha’s story, her teachers hope you’ll remember to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.