Mark Chidichimo, a retired FBI agent, said his sister, brother-in-law, brother, nephew and 92-year-old father in Idaho have all been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last three weeks.
Chidichimo, who lives in New Jersey, had nothing but praise for St. Luke’s in Twin Falls, but said his brother was told that if he needed hospitalization, he’d be sent to Seattle, more than 600 miles away.
“Hey, Idaho. This is coming from someone who has been there, done that: You really want to avoid this if you can,” he said. “It’s going to be really bad, and I pray to God that none of my family members have to be hospitalized. Because if they do, I don’t know if they’ll survive.”
After months of improvement, parts of Europe are going back into lockdown or ramping up restrictions again amid a spike in infections. Italy imposed at least a month of new restrictions across the country on Sunday, insisting that people outdoors wear masks, shutting down gyms, pools and movie theaters, and putting an early curfew on cafes and restaurants.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn, who tested positive Wednesday, pleaded with citizens to wear masks as the virus spikes across the country and hospital ICUs are filling up again.
“Please continue to help and don’t listen to those who play down (coronavirus),” he said. “It is serious.”
In New Mexico, which reported record numbers of additional COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent days, more than 350 doctors, nurses and other health care professionals signed a letter imploring residents to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and limit large gatherings to help prevent another wave of “lonely deaths.”
“Please help health care professionals help you,” said the letter, posted on the state Department of Health’s website. “Help us protect you. Help us ensure that we have the resources to treat the sick and care for the dying.”
On Saturday, New Mexico officials reported 875 new cases and five additional deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 41,040 cases and 965 deaths. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations increased to 264, up from a record 229 on Friday, which topped the previous high of 223 from mid-May.
Paur, whose brother and his girlfriend both recently tested positive for the virus, is worried about them, and herself.
“People need to know that our lives are on the line,” the Utah woman said. “We’re running out of money really fast.”
Ramer reported from Concord, N.H.; Sainz reported from Memphis, Tennessee. Associated Press writer Jim Mustian in New Orleans contributed.
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