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Collier County medical examiner lists all county COVID-19 patient deaths with underlying conditions

Thursday marked the most coronavirus cases reported in Florida in a single day with 3,207 cases. The number of tests coming back positive is on the rise, but we aren’t seeing the same rise in deaths.

The Collier County medical examiner’s office says every person who has died from COVID-19 in Collier County had an underlying condition.

The medical examiner’s records show coronavirus-related deaths in Collier County fall into these categories:

  • Having a type of heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancer diagnosis

Documents we received from the medical examiner list more than 60 COVID-19 patients who died as a result of contracting the virus. Along with coronavirus, every patient is also listed as having comorbid conditions or underlying conditions.

MORE: COVID-19 List Public Record 2020 to present

Sandy Bush’s husband’s name is on this list, but she says only COVID-19 is to blame for his death.

“I think that’s my biggest sadness is that I couldn’t hold his hand or kiss him goodbye,” Bush said.

Bush tries to find comfort reading cards, remembering her beloved husband.

”He was my best friend,” Bush said.

You’ll find Al Bush with a smile in any picture in the home the he and Sandy shared for 46 years. He was an avid golfer, a beloved father and husband who lost his life to coronavirus.

”We had 103 temperatures, both of us,” Sandy said. “We did talk to our doctor. He said, yes we had it.”

After spending five days self-isolating in their home, “I seem to have gotten better, and he didn’t,” Sandy said. “I could get out of bed. He couldn’t get out of bed, and I knew he was in trouble.”

Al was rushed to the ICU and put in a coma.

”They said he’s not going to make it through the night,” Sandy said. “And I said, ‘You have to keep him alive because today’s my birthday.”

So Al died April 5, “so quickly, so quickly,” Sandy said.

He was 73 years old. The medical examiner says 78 is the average age of COVID-19 deaths in Collier County.

“In fact, all of ours, including the two younger people who are under 40 have comorbid conditions,” Sandy said.

But Sandy says those underlying conditions listed on Al’s death certificate were caused by COVID-19.

”Hypertension … Of course, it’s going to say that. I mean the man was struggling to breathe,” Sandy said. “I don’t know why it got him and not me because I’m the one that’s not as healthy,” Sandy said. “But I survived, and he didn’t.”

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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