Organization helping families say goodbye to their loved ones virtually

Organization helping families say goodbye to their loved ones virtually
Patient using a device through COVID Tech Connect (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Too many people were dying alone in hospitals at the beginning of the pandemic. Now one organization is making sure patients have the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones.

“I received a text message from a friend who was looking to help out a nurse who was trying to find tablets for her patients. She was really upset seeing how many patients were not able to see their families or say goodbye to their families and make that wildly important last phone call,” Sara Rodell, the founder of COVID Tech Connect, said.

When Rodell, a 2008 University of Virginia graduate, heard about thousands of COVID-19 patients dying alone, she took matters into her own hands.

“We were able to get donations in kind of devices, as well as donations in dollars and purchased tablets directly from manufacturers and start getting them into hospitals and care facilities,” Rodell said.

Rodell, alongside five other women with backgrounds in technology, began raising funds to launch COVID Tech Connect to purchase tablets for hospitals and care facilities.

“The first phase of the organization was about placing 8,000 devices which we’ve already done,” Rodell said.

Now Rodell and her team are on a mission to give away the remaining 8,000 tablets to hospitals and care facilities. A spokesperson for UVA Health says the hospital has received devices from the organization.

“We are hoping that there is no need for us to exist. This organization was formed to help solve a need, not to exist in perpetuity. As soon as we are able to giveaway these next batch of devices we’ll wind down the organization,” Rodell said.

If you’re part of a hospital or care facility and would like to sign up for these devices, you can go to to apply.

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