Santa Rosa Police Detective Marylou Armer, 43, died in late March due to complications from COVID-19. Her death occurred after she was denied a test on two occasions, The Press Democrat reports.
Armer’s older sister, Mari Lau, recalls her sibling initially believing that she had come down with either the flu or a cold, despite complaining of a number of symptoms associated with COVID-19. “She said she’d never felt this kind of sickness in her body before,” Lau told the outlet.
Armer said that within a few days, her fever and body aches weren’t as bad, but she still had some trouble breathing. Fearful that she had contracted the virus, Armer was denied two requests for a test by Kaiser Permanente’s Vallejo Medical Center because of her age and lack of underlying medical conditions.
Armer was eventually cleared for a test on March 23, but Lau said, “It was too late already.” She was rushed to the hospital that same day by her husband, where she was intubated for 24 hours. It was the last time Lau heard from her sister.
In her first night at the hospital, Armer’s condition reportedly worsened, and she was placed in a medically-induced coma for at least five days. Voice recordings from Lau, her husband, and other family members were sent to the hospital staff to be played for Armer while she was in a coma.
Lau said that her sister’s heartbeat and oxygen rate went up a little after those recordings played, but on the evening before her death, her condition “got really bad.” The following day, Lau was told by Armer’s husband that she wouldn’t make it through the next few hours.
Dr. David Witt, national infectious disease expert for the World Health Organization, said Armer was in regular contact with her doctor, who was following the “public health authority testing guidelines, which have been based on a very limited availability of tests.”
However, as guidelines for testing for COVID-19 have changed, Kaiser Permanente has also started to follow 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.