Both of 34-year-old Prea Nankieshore's parents are reportedly battling COVID-19

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 09, 2020 05:02 PM
Prea Nankieshore

A 34-year-old mother who registered patients in the emergency room of a New York hospital has died of coronavirus as deaths attributed to the disease continue to mount in the state.

Prea Nankieshore was known as a “well-respected and hard-working” member of Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital in Queens, where she helped new arrivals in the emergency department, according to WABC.

In a statement to PEOPLE, chief nursing officer Mary Curran says staff at LIJ Forest Hills are “devastated” by Nankieshore’s death, and called her “among the brave team members” who have dedicated themselves to the community during the outbreak.

After showing symptoms of coronavirus last week, Nankieshore — a mother of 8-year-old twin boys — soon became a patient of the hospital where she made so many memories.

She succumbed to the virus just days later on April 5, the New York Post reported.

Nankieshore’s sister, Lisa Singh, told the Post that Nankieshore was previously in good health and did not have apparent underlying medical conditions.

Singh said their 66-year-old mother is in intensive care after contracting coronavirus, and their father is battling the disease at home.

“This is so devastating,” she told the Post. “Prea was on the front lines. She was the first point of contact registering patients in the ER.”

“We lost a dedicated mother with a heart of gold,” her fiancé, Marcus Khan, told WABC. “We lost a sister. We lost a friend. I lost the love of my life.”

Khan said Nankieshore insisted on going to work at the hospital despite the increased risk of being exposed to the virus.

“She said, ‘I can’t leave the hospital understaffed. They’re already flooded with patients. Doctors are working hard, and I can’t leave them like that. I have to do my part,’ ” Khan recalled to WABC.

“I just want everyone to take this seriously,” he added of the disease. “This pain, this pain that me and her family are feeling right now, you don’t want your loved ones to feel this pain.”

“Our team at LIJ Forest Hills is a family that now mourns the loss of one of its own,” Curran said, in part, in a statement to PEOPLE. “But as we grieve, we will also persevere in caring for our patients with the grace and strength that Prea displayed day in and day out.”

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Nankieshore first joined Northwell Health — the company that operates LIJ Forest Hills — in 2012 as a customer service representative, the hospital told PEOPLE. She then transferred to the emergency room at the hospital in 2013.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Nankieshore’s family, and has raised more than $30,000.

“She was a great loving mother and a well respected, hard-working team member at the Forest Hills Emergency department,” a description on the donation page reads.

New York continues to be heavily impacted during the pandemic and has seen more cases and deaths attributed to the virus than anywhere else in the country. As of Thursday afternoon, the state as seen 159,937 cases and 7,067 deaths due to coronavirus, according to a New York Times database.

The U.S. — home to the most cases of the disease in the world — has seen 450,682 cases and 16,231 deaths, the Times reported.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.