Trump dismisses coronavirus testing problems in conference call

Coronavirus: Police officer who died from Covid-19 was denied test for virus twice

When Marylou Armer finally received diagnosis ‘it was already too late’, says sister

Louise Hall
Monday 13 April 2020 20:52

A California police detective who died of coronavirus requested to be tested twice for the disease and was denied, according to a report.

Marylou Armer, a 43-year-old detective with the Santa Rosa Police Department was allegedly told by doctors that her age and lack of an underlying medical condition meant she was not a risk, according to her sister, The Press Democrat reported.​

Her older sister, Mari Lau, explained to the outlet that Ms Armer’s requests were denied by Kaiser Permanente’s Vallejo Medical Centre.

In a statement to The Press Democrat, the hospital confirmed that Ms Armer was not immediately tested.

According to the report, Ms Armer began complaining of a fever, aching body, and shortness of breath beginning in mid-March.

Ms Lau said that by the time her sister was cleared to be tested “it was too late already”.

“She said she’d never felt this kind of sickness in her body before,” Ms Lau told the newspaper.

Ms Armer was eventually admitted to the medical centre where she was put on a ventilator and tested for the virus.

Doctors hoped that life support would allow her lungs to start to recover, Ms Lau said.

The results came back positive for Covid-19 hours after Ms Armer was intubated. However, she never woke up from the medically induced coma and died on 31 March, the newspaper said.

Dr David Witt, the HMO’s national infectious disease expert told the outlet that doctors adhered to “public health authority testing guidelines, which have been based on very limited availability of tests”.

“We offer heartfelt sympathies to Detective Armer’s family and loved ones at this profoundly difficult time,” Dr Witt said in the statement.


Ms Armer’s family agreed to let Ms Lau share details about the devoted police detective’s life and experience with the novel coronavirus.

“She really loved helping her community,” Ms Lau said of her sister. “She just loved her job. She wanted to help anyone and everyone she could.”

“The toughest thing about this situation is not being able to be there for her when she was at the hospital and being able to see her and talk to her,” Ms Lau said.

Dr Witt said that guidelines for testing at the medical centre have changed as the pandemic has progressed.

“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,” Dr Witt said.

“Our policy at this time is to prioritise testing of first responders and healthcare workers. These are the heroes who serve, protect and care for our communities.”

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