LA County

After Woman Becomes 1st LA County Coronavirus Death, Family Endures Heartbreak and Frustration

What family members thought was jet lag turned out to be the new coronavirus

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Family members of the first and only person in Los Angeles County known to have died due to coronavirus are sharing their heartbreak and frustration.

They lost their aunt, but the family said even her husband, who administered CPR to try to save his beloved wife, struggled to find a test for the virus that has killed more than 10,000 people worldwide.

"She was the sweetest, always happy," Victoria Do and Katarina Fajardo described their aunt Loretta from Florida. "She was fighter, a breast cancer survivor."

Loretta also recently retired, her family said, so there was much to celebrate. Loretta, her husband, along with Victoria and Katarina’s dad and stepmom went to the Philippines.

They returned to LA in early March, feeling exhausted.

"I think within 6 hours of getting in the hospital, she passed away," Victoria said about her aunt.

Aunt Loretta died on March 10.

What they thought was maybe jet lag turned out to be COVID-19, the deadly virus that has shut down cities and countries and killed thousands.

"And we can’t do anything for my uncle because he's in isolation; we can’t go console him or anything," Victoria said.

Their uncle, dad and stepmom are now in all self-isolation at their Walnut home.

"All three had fevers," Victoria said. "My dad was the highest at 99.8. The other two were just a little above normal, but we were told by the public health nurse, per CDC guidelines, it's not high enough."

Loretta’s husband was even told by his health provider in Florida there are no tests available. He performed CPR in a desperate attempt to save her life.

"People are not getting tested when they should be," Victoria said. "People are posting everywhere, 'Oh I’m getting tested. I have no symptoms' Where are these people getting tests?"

The nieces were frustrated and desperately tried to get their family help. Days later, they were able to get tested, paying about $130 per person for a drive-thru test, Victoria said.

While health officials vow more tests are available, the family of the only person to die from the coronavirus in LA County said those tests are not getting to the people who need them most.

"I know other people have been tested who are celebrities, that have not been in contact or have not had any symptoms," Victoria said.

She added, "Korea’s testing over 200,000 people a day. I don’t understand why we have to go through all these hoops to get people tested."

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