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A 108-year-old New Jersey woman who lived through the Spanish flu pandemic is believed to be the oldest coronavirus survivor in the U.S. Sylvia Goldsholl, a resident of Allendale Community for Senior Living in New Jersey, recovered less than a week after testing positive for COVID-19, according to NorthJersey.com.
Goldsholl told News 12 New Jersey that her recovery came down to her determination to survive.
“It’s very dangerous,” she said. “I survived everything because I was determined to survive.”
Goldsholl’s niece said she promised to visit her aunt once the nursing home allows it.
“They knew that I was a wonder,” Goldsholl told NorthJersey.com, of her relatives. “I met their expectations. I represented them in a very well way.”
Her recovery was given special recognition from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who tweeted about her health on Thursday.
“A tremendous life, a tremendous spirit, and a tremendous show of strength,” he tweeted. “So, to you, Sylvia, we send you all our best for many more years to come.”
Goldsholl has another New Jersey resident who overcame coronavirus beat by a few years. Marie Ferise, 105, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April and has since made a full recovery. The resident of Homestead Health Care and Rehabilitation Center in northern New Jersey, is also a cancer survivor and didn’t know she had the virus until she tested positive for it.
With her birthday coming up, she had joked to nursing home staff that all she wanted this year was to take her mask off to celebrate the occasion.
“I was nervous,” Lori Donkersloot, a nurse at the facility, told Fox 13. “She is the eldest resident we have here. We were all quite worried about her.”
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus, with New Jersey reporting over 26,230 cases at its 528 centers. Of those illnesses, 4,855 have resulted in death, accounting for 52 percent of the state’s COVID-19 fatalities.