Family of 1st COVID-19 patient to die locally: ‘It’s not a joke’

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The family of the man who became Monroe County’s first person to die of COVID-19 wants their grief to carry a message.

They’re mourning for 54-year-old Alvin Simmons, who died Tuesday morning at Rochester General Hospital. Public health officials say Simmons had complicating factors that contributed to his death.

In a statement, RGH said he was an employee at the hospital.

“The patient was hospitalized on March 14 with fever and acute respiratory symptoms and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.  The patient was a 54-year old male with multiple, serious underlying conditions, including hypertension, liver disease, and tobacco use.”

The family says the situation developed extremely quickly, saying Simmons felt sick in the middle of last week, threw up blood on Friday and was put on life support this weekend.

An army veteran and father of two, his sister, Michelle Wilcox, said he was selfless. “My brother loved everybody, he was a great person,”

This death at Rochester General comes less than a week since the announcement of Rochester’s first confirmed case of COVID-19.

County executive Adam Bello released this statement;

“Our entire community grieves this loss. my heart is with the patient’s family, and i ask the community to join me in keeping them in our thoughts and prayers.”

MORE | COVID-19 drive-thru testing begins at Rochester General Hospital

According to the family, Simmions first experienced symptoms on Tuesday, and went to the hospital for treatment Wednesday.

Family says Simmons was diagnosed with pneumonia, given antibiotics and also took a coronavirus test. On Friday, they say he puked blood and had a stroke.

For the family, the disease not only took a life but any chance of a final goodbye.

“We couldn’t even see him. We saw him today after we pulled the plug on him. By video conference,” said Wilcox.

And now a message for others to stay safe.

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“I want everybody to know that it’s real please just self-quarantine yourself. Do what you got to do. Don’t go out here,” said Wilcox.

“It’s not a joke, please be out here safe. Wash your hands, do the self-distancing it’s not a joke,” said Wilcox.

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