While the country has its attention focused on the election, thousands of people are still testing positive for COVID-19 and hundreds are dying every day.
One of those deaths was a 20-year-old college student who died in her dorm room where she was quarantining after testing for COVID-19.
Bethany Nesbitt died eight days after she was initially tested for COVID-19. She was found alone in her dorm room at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana on October 30.
According to a statement released by her brother, Stephen Nesbitt, Bethany, who was from Grand Ledge, Michigan began feeling ill the week of October 20.
She took a COVID-19 test on October 22 and began quarantining in her dorm room, a single. According to the family’s statement, she never received the result of that test due to “an unknown clerical error.”
The 20-year-old, who had asthma, remained in her room and continued to communicate with her family.
With the help of her mother, she monitored her oxygen saturation levels, a concern due to her asthma. She was also monitored by campus health officials.
Bethany went to the hospital on October 26.
After a drop in her oxygen saturation levels, she went to the emergency room where it was determined that she most likely had COVID-19, though her symptoms weren’t severe enough to warrant admission.
She returned to her dorm room to continue her quarantine.
Two days later, she had been fever-free for 24 hours and her “oxygen levels were normalizing. She was encouraged.”
The following day she received another COVID test.
On October 30 at 10 a.m. she was found dead in her room.
She died from a pulmonary embolism, a widely common cause of death in COVID-19 patients, according to her brother.
The Kosciusko County Coroner Tony Ciriello confirmed this to PEOPLE.
The results of Bethany’s October 29 test came back after her death and it revealed that she had tested positive for COVID-19.
According to Ciriello, the virus “was a contributing factor.”
Long-term effects from COVID-19
While many have recovered from COVID-19, there are countless survivors who have now become chronically ill as a result of the coronavirus.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can persist for months and because the virus has be known to damage the lungs, heart, and brain, patients are at an increased risk for developing other health problems.
“Most people who have coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) recover completely within a few weeks. But some people — even those who had mild versions of the disease — continue to experience symptoms after their initial recovery.”
One of the many issues associated with COVID-19 patients is blood clots or problems with their blood vessels.
The virus makes blood cells more likely to clump, therefore forming clots.
“While large clots can cause heart attacks and strokes, much of the heart damage caused by COVID-19 is believed to stem from very small clots that block tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the heart muscle.”
Other organs can also be affected. In Bethany’s case, it was her lungs.
In her final days, Bethany kept in regular contact with her family and knew how much she was loved.
“We speak out not to spread fear, but to encourage others to exercise enormous caution as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Please don’t assume that young people will not be impacted by this virus. Bethany was careful. She wore her mask. She socially distanced,” her family’s statement read.
“The risks of gathering in large groups aren’t worth it this year. There will be an empty seat at our table the next time our family comes together — and every time after that. This loss is forever.”
Rest in peace, Bethany.
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