Coronavirus in Florida: Longtime nurse with no known health issues dies after contracting COVID-19

LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. – As a former Jamaican military officer, Earl Bailey could still get in a big bench press.

As a nurse of nearly 20 years, he was a mentor to other healthcare workers.

“That’s my dad’s nature. That’s what he does. He just like to spread love everywhere. He’s nurturing,” said daughter Sashia Bailey.

Sashia said her father ate healthy foods and had no known underlying health conditions.

But two weeks ago, the 56-year-old came down with a persistent cough. Sashia said he tested positive for COVID19 at Florida Medical center, where he worked through a staffing agency, and isolated himself at home.

His health took a sudden turn for the worse.

“It went from having a cough to not being able to breathe. And one he was able to breathe, a couple of minutes after that - I mean, the ambulance wouldn’t have made it there within that time frame. He was gone by them,” she said.

A spokesperson for Tenet Healthcare, the parent company of Florida Medical Center, wrote to Local 10:

“We were recently informed that a nurse employed by our staffing agency, who has cared for patients in our hospital in the past, has passed away at another hospital. Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time. We would like to reiterate our appreciation for the work all caregivers are doing in this difficult time. We are very focused on minimizing staff exposures in our hospitals. All employees at our hospital are temperature checked upon arrival, wear a mask during patient care and are required to notify employee health if they become symptomatic. They are not permitted to work in the hospital caring for patients if exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.”

Sashia said her father was happy to isolate himself and manage his conditions at home, in order to free up hospital space for others who were in worse condition. But she said she believes if he was hospitalized with access to a ventilator, his life could have been spared.

“I just want everyone to remember my dad as he was. How he affected everyone’s life. How he blessed everyone’s life,” she said. “You don’t have to have an underlying health condition in order to catch the corona[virus] and for it to take your life.”

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