ORLANDO, Fla. – The family of an Orlando woman who died from the coronavirus while vacationing California said they never thought this would happen to them.
Rem Dionisio said his mother, Loretta Dionisio, was 68 years old.
He said she was strong. She was a cancer survivor a diabetic.
He said she and his father left Orlando in February for a trip to Thailand and the Philippines to kick off their retirement.
He said they had a long layover in South Korea before arriving in Los Angeles on March 8 to visit family.
“I get a text message from my father saying your mother didn’t have a pulse, and I had to give her CPR,” he said. “He kind of told me I had to call an ambulance. Your mother went to the hospital. They’re saying that she’s going to be okay, and that was kind of it.”
Rem’s mother became the first fatality from the coronavirus reported in Los Angeles County.
“Wow, that’s it. I’m never going to see her again,” he told News 6.
He said she died just 36 hours after landing at Los Angeles International Airport and just eight hours after being admitted to the hospital.
“We were expecting them to come back, and we were going to have these great conversations and be able to laugh about certain things that they did on their vacation, you know? It’s just not something you expect to hear,” he said.
Rem said his father is now grieving his wife’s sudden death alone.
He said his father, Roddy, has been quarantined in Southern California after developing a fever and other symptoms.
He said the Los Angeles Department of Health has assigned him a nurse to monitor his condition, but he claimed the department had not tested him for COVID-19.
“They wouldn’t do the testing unless he was in critical condition,” he said. “It was mind blowing. I’m like wait, you’re asking us to take a chance and wait for him to get bad before he gets a test.”
What’s more, he said the department said there were no tests available.
More than one week after his wife died, Rem’s father tested negative for COVID-19, but Rem’s uncle, who they were staying with tested positive.
His sister, Rowena, told News 6 her father, aunt and uncle had all been released from quarantine before the test results came back.
All three are now back in quarantine.
They also said they advocating testing for COVID-19 for all who need it, but they said they are concerned about the lack of supplies like they have encountered.
“We stand by education and awareness, and we don’t want to spread complacency and hysteria,” said Rem’s wife Cat. “(We) wanted to share our story to show that this could happen to anyone.”
“You don’t expect them to pass away from the virus that everyone’s talking about,” he said. “That’s the last thing you expect.”