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Popular Cobb County teacher on life support after testing positive for COVID-19

Patrick Key tested positive a week ago. So did his wife, Priscella Key, who is also a teacher, at a different Cobb school.

MARIETTA, Ga. — The numbers are almost numbing, every day. COVID-19 continues to strike, deep into our communities.

Almost everyone knows someone who’s been infected. And one of the latest and most serious cases is in Cobb County.

A popular elementary school teacher, Patrick Key, is on life support in the intensive care unit.

His wife, Priscella Key, who is an elementary school teacher at a different Cobb school, is also infected.

Their ordeal is one more glimpse into the ubiquitous virus that, now, days away from Thanksgiving, continues to attack relentlessly.

Patrick Key, 53, has been on a ventilator and on life support at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta since last week.

Both Patrick Key and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 a week ago. 

Patrick teaches art at Hendricks Elementary School in Powder Springs.

He is a 23-year veteran of the Cobb County school system.

Priscella Key, who teaches at Clay-Harmony Leland Elementary School in Mableton, is recovering at home.

In emails to 11Alive News on Monday afternoon, Priscella wrote that Patrick is “stable and (doctors) report he is far from out of the woods but is slowly making progress forward.”

She praised everyone at the hospital.

“They have held the phone up and Facetimed me so that I can see and talk to him briefly a couple of times. Each time has been a gift. Yesterday, he was able to show me the ASL symbol for I love you.”

A fellow teacher, Merry Mullins, set up an online fundraiser for the Keys.

“I've personally known (Patrick) for over 25 years and can tell you that he is one of the most giving humans I have ever met," Mullins wrote. "It's time for us to show Patrick and his wife Priscella that we are here to support them.... Our family cannot thank all of you enough for the outpouring of love, prayers, and support” for the Keys.

Teachers, parents, neighbors are supporting the couple every way they can.

“Yesterday, a large group of teachers and their families came to our house to help take care of yard work that needed to be done," Priscella wrote. "It took one more worry off of our plate. Patrick is a person that will do anything to help someone without ever asking for something in return."

"He truly cares about people and it is so very heartwarming to see that people truly care about him," she added. "He is doing his best to fight this awful virus. I look forward to the day that he is healthy and we can pay all of this love and kindness forward.”

Priscella said that she is still dealing with a cough and extreme fatigue but that she is grateful, and hopeful, as she and Patrick fight this relentless virus together.

Here is Priscella’s status report as of Monday afternoon:

Patrick is being kept pretty sedated but there are times when he is awake. He is able to communicate with his nurses by finger spelling words. He asked to listen to music yesterday and the nurses said it made him happy to hear it. They have held the phone up and Facetimed me so that I can see and talk to him briefly a couple of times. Each time has been a gift. Yesterday, he was able to show me the ASL symbol for I love you. 

We are both elementary school teachers and the support and love we have received from our administration, coworkers, and community members has been amazing. Yesterday, a large group of teachers and their families came to our house to help take care of yard work that needed to be done. It took one more worry off of our plate. 

The ICU doctors and nurses at Kennestone Hospital have been wonderful. They have treated us with such compassion and understanding as they work so hard to take care of the many patients in ICU. They deserve a huge thank you for all of their hard work. 

As of 3:30 (Monday afternoon), Patrick remains in the ICU. He remains on a ventilator, ECMO life support, and kidney dialysis. He is stable and they report he is far from out of the woods, but is slowly making progress forward. 

Patrick has been a Cobb County elementary art teacher for 23 years now. I teach 1st grade at Clay-Harmony Leland Elementary in Cobb County. I have been in Cobb for 3 years now. I previously taught for 9 years in Douglas County. Yes, my administration has been wonderful to me (as well as Patrick's to him). They stay in daily contact with me and support me in every way they can. I have been able to stay home while I recover and so many people have checked on me constantly. I am now recovered from the more severe Covid symptoms and am left with a lingering cough and extreme fatigue which my doctor says will improve slowly. 

Our family is overwhelmed with gratitude and awe from all of the love, support, generosity, and prayers that we have received for Patrick. Patrick is a person that will do anything to help someone without ever asking for something in return. He truly cares about people and it is so very heartwarming to see that people truly care about him. We have received so much love it is hard to find the words to thank everyone enough. 

He is doing his best to fight this awful virus. I look forward to the day that he is healthy and we can pay all of this love and kindness forward.