A mum-of-three from Brechin has died aged just 27 after a 10-day battle with Covid-19.
Rashelle Baird succumbed to coronavirus early on Friday after being placed into a coma last week.
Her family were called to be at her bedside but got to Ninewells Hospital 10 minutes too late.
Heartbroken dad Steve, from Arbroath, said: “We got the call we had been dreading. We raced to the hospital but we didn’t make it in time.
“However, they say the hearing is the last thing to go so we spoke to Rashelle and told her our goodbyes. I think she probably heard us.”
‘Your children shouldn’t die before you’
Rashelle leaves behind two daughters and a son — Madison, two, Layla, six, and Scott, eight.
Her father revealed his daughter was not vaccinated against the virus.
Steve said that Rashelle – who had asthma and weighed 22st – had nothing against vaccines and always planned to have it done.
He said: “She was going to go but every time it came up she had something she needed to do with the children and for her that always came first. She just never got round to it.”
But with more than two-thirds of deaths in Scotland since last December happening among people who have not had either jab, Steve believes getting her injections would have given his daughter the best chance of fighting the disease.
Speaking just hours after Rashelle’s passing, he said: “This is awful. Your children shouldn’t die before you.
“Rashelle hadn’t been vaccinated against Covid and now we have lost her — her children have lost their mum.
“I would plead with others to go and get their vaccination.
“This is a terrible illness. We have now lost two family members to it and I don’t want anyone else to die.
“Get out there, get that injection and give yourself some protection.”
Rashelle and her children had all fallen ill with what she thought was the flu earlier this month.
After a delayed recovery, Rashelle visited her GP, and she was given a nebuliser to treat her asthma, but did not improve.
Following a visit to hospital where she tested positive for Covid-19, her oxygen levels got better, and Steve says doctors believed she may have been experiencing problems recovering from the virus.
It was all just too much for her body and she just couldn’t fight any more
But she was readmitted days later when her oxygen levels dropped and her dad was told she would have to be placed on a ventilator.
Rashelle was then placed in a coma but never recovered.
Steve, a delivery driver, said: “Rashelle fought this so hard, we could see she was fighting and the doctors said they could see from her brain activity that she was fighting but it just got too hard for her.
“It was just all too much for her body and she just couldn’t fight it any more.”
Paying tribute to his daughter, Steve said: “She was a bubbly, happy, loving mum.
‘She doted on her children’
“She doted on her children and they on her. Nothing was too much bother for her as far as her children were concerned.
“Now they are going to have to grow up without her — it just doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Others have also spoken about Rashelle’s loss — among them Jill Scott, chair of Brechin Community Council.
She said: “Rashelle was well liked and a good friend to many.
“Her passing is a great loss to our community, the loss felt will be a fraction of what her family will feel at this difficult time.
“Our thoughts are with her family, including her three children and their dad Scott.”
Some have taken to social media to pay tribute to Rashelle.
Kim MacDonald of Mission Fitness Scotland wrote: “Absolutely gutted to hear the passing of ex-member Rashelle Baird.
“Gorgeous lady, heart of gold and amazing mummy to her three beautiful children.
“She was always a joy in classes, she shaved her hair for our Brain Tumour Charity back in 2017 and absolutely rocked it. You put up some fight girl. Rest easy now.”
Covid data: cases, vaccinations and deaths
Data shows that the number of daily deaths linked to Covid-19 in Scotland peaked in late January, when more than 90 fatalities were recorded in a single day and the seven-day average was 60 deaths per day.
This coincided with a peak in the number of positive cases being recorded in Scotland early in the month.
However, there have been two higher peaks of positive cases since January — one in early July, and one in mid September, both higher than the last.
The September peak was more than twice as big as the one experienced in January.
Despite this, the highest number of deaths recorded in a single day in September was nearly half that of January, while the seven-day average peaked at 23.6.
The number of people that have had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine now stands at close to four million.
More than 4.3 million people in Scotland have at their first dose.
More coronavirus cases and deaths are registered among people who are unvaccinated, compared to those who have been double-jabbed.