103-year-old Mahoning County woman survives 2 pandemics


BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The COVID-19 pandemic has been compared to the Spanish flu of 1918 a number of times. Many of us weren’t born yet but a Mahoning County woman beat both the Spanish flu and coronavirus.

Genevieve Coontz is 103 years old. She currently lives at Shepherd of the Valley in Boardman.

Our sister-station WKBN reports that Genevieve tested positive for COVID-19 in March.

“It didn’t affect me that seriously,” she said. “I wasn’t acting sick, I don’t think so.”

She said she was lucky. Her symptoms were very mild and now she’s recovering in her room.

When Coontz was 2 years old, she caught the Spanish flu. She said her family didn’t talk about it often so she doesn’t remember that much.

“I’m just lucky to be alive, that’s all.”

Now she sits and waits for this pandemic to end. For being 103, she’s happy the virus didn’t harm her as much as it could’ve.

“I’ve been extremely healthy and I still feel extremely healthy, so it must not have affected me as bad as it did others,” Coontz said.

After surviving the Spanish flu and now COVID-19, she said there’s no secret to keeping up her health.

“Just normal living. I haven’t done anything special. I raised five kids.”

Coontz also gave a piece of advice for anyone who catches the virus while living in a nursing home.

“Stay in your room…and keep yourself clean. That’s all.”

She said the residents of her nursing home are hanging in there.

“We’re just living one day at a time. We still are living, one day at a time in here.”