Family of first person to die from COVID-19 in L.A. County can’t get tested

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(KTLA) – Loretta and Roddy were on a trip of a lifetime, celebrating retirement and decades of marriage. 

The pair traveled from their home in Florida to Thailand to the Philippines, and finally to Los Angeles to visit family. But that’s when everything went wrong.

“I just know that they were really tired from the trip,” Victoria Fajardo Do, the couple’s niece, told KTLA.

Then, on March 10, Roddy found 68-year-old Loretta unresponsive, and when he couldn’t wake her up, he performed CPR. She was rushed to the hospital but it was too late.

Loretta’s family later learned that she had the novel coronavirus and was the first reported person to die in connection to the virus in L.A. County.

Even though he’d performed mouth-to-mouth CPR on Loretta, doctors wouldn’t test 72-year-old Roddy, Do said. 

Do’s father and step-mom had also been on vacation with the couple. Now, the two of them and Roddy say they are experiencing a slight fever and have developed a cough.

Doctors told them that due to a lack of tests, and without severe symptoms, they had to go home to self quarantine.

“Maybe we should have tested instead of waiting until basically they’re dead,” Katarina Fajardo, the couple’s other niece, said.

The public health department could not disclose personal information but said those who come in close contact with positive cases are only tested if they have respiratory or severe symptoms.

Testing for the virus has been limited throughout the country for weeks, as officials scramble to broaden efforts.

On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state was in possession of many coronavirus tests but could not use them because not all of the necessary components within them were available. He assured Californians that testing capacity would increase exponentially in the next week or two.

“I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what we’re dealing with,” Do said.

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