The Bergen County community is mourning a couple married for more than four decades died of coronavirus complications just one week apart from one another -- alone in the same hospital.
Palisades Park healthcare workers Susana Pabatao, 64, and Alfredo Pabatao, 68, started feeling the onset of symptoms about three weeks ago, NJ.com reports.
Alfredo Pabatao noticed he had a 102-degree fever on March 17 and two days later went to his doctor, who told him to go to the emergency room.
Alfredo was admitted to Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center, where he worked as a transport aide.
The same night, Susana Pabatao experienced similar symptoms and spent the following three days trying to get tested with her daughter, Sheryl Pabatao, at the Bergen County Community College test site.
They were frustratingly turned away each time after the site hit capacity.
Meanwhile, with Alfredo on a ventilator, Susana was hospitalized at Sheryl’s insistence a few days later. She was reportedly doing well until she heard the news of Alfredo’s death on March 26.
Susana was later intubated after her vital signs declined rapidly. She died four days later.
The couple, who both had diabetes and other underlying health issues, were eventually tested for the virus: Alfredo’s test came back positive about six days after the initial test, and the family continues to await Susana’s results.
“I just really want to advocate for the importance of being quarantined and staying home,” Sheryl said in a YouTube interview with CBS. “People are taking it so lightly…but when it hits home, you want to tell everybody about it.”
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