The husband of the first reported fatality linked to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County has been refused testing for the virus.
When 72-year-old Roddy found his 68-year old wife Loretta unresponsive on March 9, he tried everything he could to revive her. In his panic, he performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compression as she no longer had a pulse, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Loretta, a breast cancer survivor, had just traveled from Seoul, Korea to Los Angeles with her husband Roddy. Upon their arrival, Loretta complained that she felt exhausted and then collapsed shortly after.
After failing to revive his wife of 45 years by doing CPR, Roddy called an ambulance which then rushed her to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. At the hospital, where she had multiple cardiac arrests, Loretta was placed in isolation after the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health advised testing her for COVID-19 infection.
According to the authorities, the patient tested positive for coronavirus. Loretta died at 2:57 a.m. on March 10. Despite the circumstances, however, the health department deemed it not necessary for Roddy to undergo a test for COVID-19.
Instead, the doctors recommended for him to self-quarantine for 14 days since he was not showing any symptoms.
Due to shortage in supply of test kits, testing for the coronavirus in Los Angeles has been very limited.
To get tested, a person must either have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness and close contact with a confirmed case or work in healthcare; have symptoms requiring hospitalization and a history of travel or certain imaging results; or be part of a cluster of acute respiratory illness within a group living setting like a nursing home or homeless shelter to be tested, according to the county Department of Public Health.
Loretta’s passing has left Roddy and his family extremely devastated. The family also lamented that Roddy can’t get tested.
“What’s really frustrating is the fact that this is a man who was as close as you can get to the virus and we’re struggling with trying to get him properly tested,” Roddy’s son Rem was quoted as saying.
Now suffering from a low-grade fever, Roddy is taking medication for a cardiovascular condition. However, his temperature is still not high enough to be considered a symptom of coronavirus.
Having to self-isolate has been tough for Roddy who now feels alone after losing his wife.
“You’re talking about a man that just lost his wife. … We’ve never experienced anything like this. This is a pandemic that can do this to anybody,” Rem said.
The family has put off their plan for Loretta’s funeral until Roddy has been released from quarantine.
“He loved her so much and I can’t even imagine those days where he has to mourn by himself without any of us in quarantine,” said daughter Rowena. “This has all been such a nightmare and to add all these other things on top of it, it’s just absolute insanity. We just want him to come home.”
Roddy and Loretta had recently retired after 30 years in advertising. After retiring, the couple decided to travel the world together. The pair left their home in Orlando, Florida and flew to Thailand on February 4. They also went to the Philippines before their layover in Seoul on their return to the US.
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