Orlando family talks about losing Filipino mom to COVID-19

by Paul Garilao, ABS-CBN News

FLORIDA — For Rem, the death of his 68-year old mother, Loretta, has been too much to bear.

Loretta, from Orlando, was the first death due to COVID-19 reported in Los Angeles County.

Loretta and her husband Roddy left Orlando on February 4th to travel to Thailand and the Philippines. Upon their return to the U.S., they stopped over Los Angeles to visit their relatives.

They were still in California on March 10th, when Roddy found his wife unresponsive with a weak pulse. When he could not wake her up, Roddy reportedly gave her CPR.

Roddy then called 911 and the ambulance rushed Loretta to Pomona Valley Medical Center in California. She went into cardiac arrest four times — and they eventually lost her.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health told the family that Loretta tested positive for coronavirus.

The family said that when Roddy asked to be tested too, a doctor declined his request due to lack of tests and because they didn’t think he showed severe symptoms.

Roddy was told to go home to undergo 14-day self-quarantine in his sister’s house.

Roddy’s sister and her husband, who traveled with roddy and Loretta, were also asked to self-quarantine.

But after media outlets published their story, the family said the doctors granted their requests to be tested.

“We are thankful that our media outreach is what made some family friends aware of our dad, aunt, and uncle’s situation,” said their daughter, Cat. “Because of that we are incredibly thankful that they were able to get the testing needed.”

“We won’t know the results after three days. We have to figure out the proper protocol for the quarantine…” said Rem.

As they hope to fly their father and the remains of their mother to Orlando sooner, the family also expressed gratitude to their friends and relatives, as well as various Filipino organizations who have been giving them the support they stay strong.

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