Detective Who Died From COVID-19 Was Repeatedly Turned Away From Virus Testing

Holly Matkin

Santa Rosa Police Detective Marylou Armer, 43, had no underlying health conditions when she contracted COVID-19.

Santa Rosa, CA – Doctors repeatedly refused to perform COVID-19 testing on a Santa Rosa detective who ultimately succumbed to the novel coronavirus after a two-week battle.

By the time she made her third request, “it was too late already,” her sister told The Press Democrat.

Santa Rosa Police Detective Marylou Armer, 43, began experiencing body aches, a fever, and shortness of breath in mid-March, according to her sister, 47-year-old Mari Lau.

“She said she’d never felt this kind of sickness in her body before,” Lau recalled.

Det. Armer went to the Kaiser Permanente’s Vallejo Medical Center on two occasions and asked to be tested for the novel coronavirus, but was denied both times, Lau told The Press Democrat.

According to Lau, the medical staff told her sister that her age and lack of underlying medical conditions precluded her from being considered as someone who would be vulnerable to the disease.

It wasn’t until Det. Armer’s husband rushed her into the emergency room on March 23 that doctors finally agreed to perform a COVID-19 test.

But by that time, the detective had already been sedated an intubated in an effort to increase her oxygen levels, The Press Democrat reported.

When her coronavirus test came back positive just hours later, Det. Armer was placed into a medically-induced coma.

Her family wasn’t allowed to see her in the days that followed because she was in isolation, so they made voice recordings for the hospital staff to play for her, The Press Democrat reported.

“When they played that, they said that her heartbeat kind of went up a beat and her oxygen went up a little, which was good news,” Lau said. “The toughest thing about this situation is not being able to be there for her when she was at the hospital and being able to see her and talk to her.”

Det. Armer’s condition seemed to improve a bit each day before it would worsen yet again, The Press Democrat reported.

“That evening [before she died], her condition just got really bad,” Lau said.

Det. Armer remained in a coma until her death on March 31.

Lau said that her family is frustrated that her sister’s requests to be tested for COVID-19 were repeatedly denied, The Press Democrat reported.

“A person knows their body and knows when something is wrong,” she said.

But the HMO’s national infectious disease expert Dr. Davit Witt said that doctors are required to adhere to “public health authority testing guidelines,” and that only a “very limited” number of tests were available at the time, The Press Democrat reported.

“Those guidelines for testing have evolved over the past several weeks, whereas a month ago, testing was limited to those with symptoms and who had primary contact with a COVID-positive person,” Witt explained. “Our policy at this time is to prioritize testing of first responders and healthcare workers. These are the heroes who serve, protect and care for our communities.”

Witt noted that Det. Armer had been in regular contact with her physician throughout her illness.

“We offer heartfelt sympathies to Detective Armer’s family and loved ones at this profoundly difficult time,” he said in a statement to The Press Democrat.

Det. Armer served the Santa Rosa Police Detective for over 20 years, the Napa Valley Register reported.

Her law enforcement career began in 1999, when she joined SRPD as a field evidence technician, Santa Rosa Police Chief Ray Navarro said in a statement, according to The Press Democrat.

Chief Navarro said he had supervised her during their night shifts in those early years.

Det. Armer began serving as a police officer in 2008, and was a member of the department’s Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Team at the time of her death, The Press Democrat reported.

“She was always proactive and there with a smile,” Chief Navarro said. “We are all going to miss her terribly.”

Det. Armer leaves behind her husband and stepdaughter, according to KNTV.

Comments (14)
No. 1-12
Davidtwmay24
Davidtwmay24

I hope they sue for criminal negligence and the hospital has to pay millions

She was a first responder and entitled to testing before she got gravelly ill

JohDia01
JohDia01

It’s not about her medical history, it’s about the symptoms she or anyone else is having at the time! I work for a hospital in Florida and our testing procedures have to do with symptoms at hand and exposure!!!!!! They have blood on their hands. I hope the family can sue the hospital for negligence!

Backing Blue
Backing Blue

My son unfortunately has to live in California and at one time had Kaiser Permanente insurance and were forced to use that hospital he said the horror stories are unbelievable I hope the family gets very aggressive lawyer and sue the living shit out of not only the hospital but the doctors involved this is pure negligence how many first responders have to dieMy prayers to the family

JBoH
JBoH

["...doctors are required to adhere to “public health authority testing guidelines,”]

That's what happens when bureaucracy takes over. Somebody really dropped the ball here and if the system doesn't learn from past stupidity then future stupidity is on the way.

The system repeatedly failed this officer after repeated attempts for help.

bryantrent
bryantrent

This is a bunch of BS

mjstoh
mjstoh

 “Our policy at this time is to prioritize testing of first responders and healthcare workers. These are the heroes who serve, protect and care for our communities.”

OMG... She is a considered an essential and a first responder.... she's a cop. They are the one's who took the oath. Hello....

GIJOE62
GIJOE62

I am praying this family that someone will help them sue the hell out of this hospital and all the doctors that turned her away. This lady, mother, daughter, wife, first responder put her life on the line everyday and you treated her like that by turning her away. Her blood is on your hands now and I hope you never get a peaceful night's rest for what you did.
R.I.P Det. Armer, rest in the arms of God. Your life matter and will not be forgotten. 🇺🇸💙

Stanracer
Stanracer

RIP Det. Armer. Your life mattered. The system let you down. So sad.

NoBackupNearby
NoBackupNearby

While I have respect for our healthcare professionals (I imagine the same that they should have for law enforcement professionals) I think a couple of doctors need to be investigated for negligent homicide. After all if a district attorney can charge an officer in the course of performing his/her duties, then well...

Jim DeMarsh
Jim DeMarsh

They refused to test, they did not (apparently) try chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine which have both been in the news...They may as well just have cut her throat for all the damn good they did... This was a senseless, needless death... Sue them till they beg for mercy, then sue them some more...Malpractice, negligence, call it what it is...they murdered this young woman... My heartfelt sympathy for this young woman, and for the family of this young officer...

DR226
DR226

Being Cali. I'm willing to bet if an illegal immigrant with signs and symptoms, regardless of age, were to request testing for Covid-19 they'd get it. The authority that oversees the guidelines for testing should be sued to the max. First responders should be tested without prejudice.

BRADDAVI64
BRADDAVI64

This officer should have been tested at the 1st request, period. There is no excuse for this. This makes me angry & heartbroken for the family.


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