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EVERY NUMBER IS A LIFE: Coronavirus COVID-19 victims are so much more than a 'number'

Celebrating the life of loved ones during the faceless anonymity of Maine coronavirus COVID fatalities.

PORTLAND, Maine — SEE THE FULL STORY TUESDAY ON NEWS CENTER Maine at 6 p.m.

The first coronavirus-related death in the Maine was reported on March 27. All we know about is it was a man in his 80s from Cumberland County. The number of Mainers that have died with COVID-19 now stands just shy of 60.  

The victims are not being identified to protect their privacy. That along with no public funerals is compounding the grief for families mourning their loved ones. Stephanie Orr lights up talking about her mother Pat Tetrault. 

'She made us very self sufficient, made us strong,' said Orr. 

The Portland native was a trailblazer of her time.  She served in the Air Force in the early 50's at the Pentagon. Using skills she learned in the military, Pat worked full time while raising 6 kids and several foster children --  through high school.

Incredible stories about Tetrault -- a breast cancer survivor and considered the rock of her family -- that haven't been shared.

 Many friends and relatives just waiting for this celebration of life and we haven't had a chance to talk about it at all,' said Orr

Pat died on March 30th, one of the first COVID-19 related deaths in Maine. The 88-year old was living in a senior housing complex in Westbrook..

That hot spot was on Pat's floor. Several days later with a cough she couldn't shake, Pat tested positive and ended up in Northern Light Mercy Hospital four days later. She passed away from COVID-19 a little more than a week later. 

In the early days of the virus -- Stephanie and her siblings were allowed to say goodbye. 

Following their mom's death, Stephanie, who lives on the Cape in Massachusetts and her family members in Maine, were immediately quarantined. 

Even more devastating, Pat's death was reported as a nameless statistic. A public funeral was not an option during the crisis to remember a woman who's true joy was her family -- that included several great, great grandchildren.

'A woman in her 80's, a man in his 70's, oh that must be the one where they counted mom, whatever and it felt so horrible,' said Orr.

After emerging from isolation, someone sent Stephanie this social media page, 'Every number has a name' where loved ones can post photos and obituaries of people lost to Covid19 and celebrate their lives. 

While a public tribute to her mom can't replace a memorial service,  daily words of love and comfort is helping Stephanie and her family heal. 

Celebration of life information on Pat Tetraut click here 

Remembering Maine's COVID-19 Every Number Has a Name on Facebook

Information on grieving and other mental help resources 

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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