Family of first to die from COVID-19 in Livingston County speaks out

Charles Molineaux
Created: April 01, 2020 06:57 PM

CALEDONIA, N.Y. (WHEC) — A Livingston County family is mourning the death of one coronavirus victim and asking if the response to his death was enough, and was fast enough.

27-year-old Vincent Coons died on Saturday.


Now his family is wondering if health officials went far enough after emergency crews rushed to his house.

Vincent’s mother, Marjorie Coons, says the paramedics did all they could and then when responders took out her son's body they were in full decontamination gear.

She also says it seemed to take a lot of effort to make sure he was tested after it was too late for him but might make a lot of difference for others.

"I am afraid for anyone to even come near my home because they could get it, and they could die," Marjorie said.

Marjorie is now under quarantine in her house in Caledonia, the house where her son died with what tests later established was coronavirus.

Relatives say he went down fast after being sick for more than a week, but giving little signs as to how bad it was until Marjorie called 911 on Saturday.

"He kept saying he was fine. He was fine. And then Saturday morning came around. He's been sick for nine days," Marjorie said. "They put him on the floor and started doing CPR. They did everything they could but then he didn't come back."

Marjorie says she's concerned about how long it took health officials to agree to test Vincent after he died. 

The results finally came back on Tuesday. He had the virus. Now she must wait out quarantine and wonders who else might be affected.

"Two days before you start with symptoms, you are contagious,” Marjorie said. “So whatever he was on St. Patrick's Day, if he went and picked up lunch somewhere, they could have COVID at their place."

The Livingston County Health Commissioner says after someone dies like that, it's then up to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office to do any testing.

She says a "close contact investigation" has been launched to figure out who Vincent might have contacted, and that it's fortunate he'd been home from his office for most of the time he was sick. She says there's also concern it might be too soon to test his mother and that she just needs to stay quarantined.

Marjorie says she's hoping for answers, and trying to pull together with her family, with obvious obstacles.

"Everybody's in this predicament and you can't be with your family and you have to be so far apart but at such a tragic time like this, it's 1 million times more to not be able to be with your family or get a hug."

News10NBC reached out to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office Wednesday morning.

We're told a response is coming but so far we haven't gotten one.

Vincent's brother, Patrick, says he wishes it was made clear that Vincent's obesity could be a risk factor, something Vincent told him he'd discovered in his own research.

Vincent's relatives are also dealing with the fact that they can't make the kind of funeral arrangements for him they want.

They say with the time that's gone by since he died, he had to be cremated.

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