MONTROSE, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- A Montrose woman says her sister died, in part, because of a strain of the coronavirus, not confirmed to be COVID-19.
In fact, it's listed as one of the causes of death on her death certificate.
"I made the decision for the family, to just let her go," said Montrose Resident Almeta Stone.
She’s still processing the death of her sister, Lola Short, who died January 8th of this year.
“They just kept assuring us it was the flu. When I got the death certificate, it said coronavirus on there, and I was so confused, Stone said."
Now, she has lots of questions.
"If she did have it, why did they not tell us and why didn't they come test me?” Stone said.
Almeta says it started when Lola went to the hospital for flu-like symptoms back in January. She had been on a flight from Grand Junction to Las Vegas, and also spent some time in Arizona. Within a week, things escalated fast.
"That Monday she was ventilated, Tuesday she wasn't improving so they put her on Flight For Life to St. Joseph's in Denver," Stone said.
Lola eventually needed ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), a treatment to help run her heart and lungs.
But that procedure was ultimately the cause of her death. It's listed first on the certificate.
"What should have taken about a half hour to an hour took them about four hours, and there was just nothing else they could do,” Stone said.
A scary situation for sure, but this does NOT prove the Novel-Coronavirus, (COVID-19) from Wuhan City China, killed Lola. There’s no mention of what kind of coronavirus it was. It could have possibly been a less-severe form of the virus.
Health officials say, don't panic.
"There are no confirmed cases of novel-coronavirus in Mesa County, or in the state of Colorado,” said Spokesperson for Mesa County Public Health, Amanda Mayle.
According to MCPH, there are other common forms of coronavirus that have minor side effects, which could be the situation in this case.
"Common coronavirus is just that, common, and it has symptoms similar to the common cold. This is something that we know a lot of people are worried about, but the risk to people here in the US is still low,” Mayle said.
Along with the ECMO, the death certificate listed sepsis, pnemonia, influenza and coronavirus as causes of death.
Mesa County Public Health also says the COVID-19, is not tested for at hospital labs.