Santa Rosa Detective Dies From Lack of COVID-19 Testing

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Santa Rosa Police Department mourned the loss of Detective Marylou Armer who was unable to receive COVID-19 testing and treatment.

The department issued a statement that Armer passed on March 31, and was one of the first in the SRPD to get infected.

Press Democrat reported that the detective asked the doctors at Kaiser Permanente’s Vallejo Medical Center twice to be tested for the virus but was denied both times. One doctor, who was unnamed, told Armer that her age, 43, and health records without “underlying medical conditions meant she was not considered vulnerable to the illness.”

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It resulted in her untimely death, as she was reported to have battled a fever, body aches and shortness of breath — all symptoms of COVID-19 — for two weeks before her passing.

When she was finally cleared for testing on March 23, after initially being denied for the third time, Mari Lau, Armer’s older sister said, “it was too late already.”

The detective’s husband rushed her into the emergency room where the oxygen levels were dangerously low in her bloodstream. The plan was to intubate her for 24 hours and place her in a medically-induced coma for at least five days. She seemed to get better for a while, however, overnight her condition worsened and she passed at the end of the month.

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“It is very frustrating,” Lau said. “A person knows their body and knows when something is wrong.”

Kaiser Permanente confirmed in a statement to Press Democrat, that Armer was not immediately tested.

Due to the very limited number of tests, Dr. David Witt, the HMO’s national infectious disease expert, explained that the doctors were adhering to “public health authority testing guidelines.”

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 Witt offered their “heartfelt sympathies to Detective Armer’s family and loved ones at this profoundly difficult time,” stating that the guidelines for testing changed throughout the pandemic’s timeline and Kaiser’s policy followed suit.

“Those guidelines for testing have evolved over the past several weeks, whereas a month ago, testing was limited to those with symptoms and who had primary contact with a COVID-positive person,” Witt said.

They are now prioritizing testing on first responders and healthcare workers, with Witt stating, “These are the heroes who serve, protect and care for our communities.”

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According to CBSN Bay Area, the SRPD led a procession that “escorted Armer’s body from Kaiser Vallejo Hospital to Tulocay Funeral Home and Cemetery where she will be laid to rest.”

Feature Image via Santa Rosa Police Department

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