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'Don't take this as a joke.' Nursing home employee struggles to breathe in video message

Shareka Williams Hospital.jpg
Shareka Williams photo.jpg
Posted at 6:41 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-30 11:49:01-05

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — More sad news from Gallatin where we have learned that two more residents from that nursing home have died. That brings the total number of deaths from the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing now to four.

Now we hear for the first time from one of the workers at the facility, an employee who is fighting for her life.

Shareka Williams has a message for you: The coronavirus is, in her words, "no joke."

She's got a lot more to say about it in a video she posted from her hospital bed where she's struggling for each and every breath.

"Gotta excuse me. It hurts to breathe," Williams started out.

She had a lot to say. It's just that saying it is hard. But she tried on Facebook Monday afternoon.

"When you're fighting to breathe, it ain't easy. It's not easy," Williams said.

"Right now I'm away from my kids in a hospital," she added.

She posted a five and a half minute video where she struggled to speak from behind a mask and warn people to take the Coronavirus seriously.

"I just want to tell you. Don't take this as a joke. This is not a joke," Williams cautioned in the video that she appeared to have shot herself.

Williams is one of at least 33 employees at the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing who has tested positive.

"Stay at home if you don't have to go out. Stay at home. I never felt a gunshot but this is probably worse than a gunshot," she shared.

On her Facebook page, she has posted about being very sick for more than a week. Then, this past Saturday, she wrote that she had been diagnosed with COVID-19 after being rushed to the ER because she was having difficulty breathing.

"This is my journey. This is my testimony. Cause what has killed other folks is not killing me. I know God's not finished with me yet. I have too much work to do. I got people that depend on me right now," Williams said.

Along with the video, she wrote in her post, "Excuse the way I look."

And later she posted a glamorous selfie along with these words, "I want this girl back."

"Ya'll keep me lifted. Keep my children lifted. Keep all of those who have been affected with this COVID-19," Williams asked.

She also said in her video that this virus is attacking everyone. It doesn't matter your color or your age.

She closed out the message saying, "I'm fighting and I'm gonna win. Fight on!"

And to that we say, "Fight on, Shareka."


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See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.