Patient tested for COVID-19: 'When the docs say you die alone they aren’t kidding'

Berkeley Brean
Created: March 26, 2020 06:18 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — If you talk to people who are sick, they’re concerned about getting tested. 

If you talk to hospitals they’re concerned about where they’re going to put every patient. 


One woman was checked into RGH today and contacted News10NBC to describe what she’s going through and what it’s like.

Her name is Amybeth Gregory. She shared this selfie with me from her hospital bed at RGH. 

She is isolated in her hospital room.

She first sent me a tweet Tuesday desperately asking “Where can I go in Rochester area to be tested?”

She said, “I have been sick one week.”

She could not talk today because of the breathing aid.

I asked her what her illness feels like.

She texted “Exhausting, extremely tired, chest pain, coughing, headache, fever.”

When I spoke with Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Doctor Michael Mendoza Wednesday, I listed Amybeth’s symptoms. 

Brean: “When is the system going to be able to test somebody like that?”

Dr. Mendoza: “I can’t give you that answer. That is an answer that is really one for the systems.”

Meaning the hospital systems.

Dr. Emil Lesho is the head of infectious diseases at Rochester Regional Health.

Dr. Lesho: “There have been misperceptions that testing is widely available. It’s not. It’s still highly restrictive.”

Dr. Mendoza expects the ability to test to increase. 

Brean: “It’s going to require hospitals getting the equipment, right? That’s it. 

Dr. Mendoza: “Yeah and it’s not simple. If it was we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

As of 4 p.m. Thursday there are 31 people hospitalized in Monroe County with coronavirus. 

Many more are sick without a diagnosis. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered hospitals to increase capacity by 50%. 

At RGH, they’re canceling elective surgery and clearing out those wards.

Dr. Lesho: “They’re emptying out and that’s the way we want it to be so we have spaces to put the surge of COVID patients when they come.”

At 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Amybeth texted me saying she got a coronavirus test because the hospital is “admitting her.”

Then she sent an emoji with a hand over the face. 

“And when the docs say you die alone with this they aren’t kidding,” Gregory texted. “You are basically sequestered in a glass room that has a purification system and no one comes in for hours unless they absolutely have to. They give you a phone to call you on if they need to speak with you and you lay there. There’s a portable toilet with Kleenex. No TP.”

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