Marylou Armer was reportedly told that because of her age and the fact that she had no underlying medical conditions, she was not considered vulnerable to the illness

By Robyn Merrett
April 13, 2020 10:33 PM
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The Santa Rosa Police Department is mourning the death of one of their own after Detective Marylou Armer died of coronavirus (COVID-19) after weeks of trying to get tested. She was 43.

Before her death, Armer had been denied testing twice. She spent her final days trying her best to stay alive, fighting off a fever, body aches and shortness of breath, The Press Democrat reported.

When she first fell ill, she told her sister Mari Lau that she felt as though she had caught the flu.

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

Despite her symptoms, Kaiser Permanente’s Vallejo Medical Center did not give her a test.

Armer was told that because of her age and the fact that she had no underlying medical conditions, she was not considered vulnerable to the illness, Lau said, The Press Democrat reported.

Kaiser Permanent did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Armer’s health continued to decline and on March 23, her husband brought her to the emergency room.

After seeing her condition, Armer was sedated and intubated to boost her low levels of oxygen, Lau explained.

Moments later, she tested positive for COVID-19, Lau said, The Press Democrat reported. Following her diagnosis, Armer was placed in a medically induced coma and never woke up. She died on March 31.

She is survived by her husband and daughter. Armer is the first California peace officer to die of the disease. She is also the first Napa County resident.

Armer’s death has sparked outrage among her family as her sister said, “It is very frustrating,” The Press Democrat reported.

Kaiser has since issued a statement to The Press Democrat, confirming that Armer in fact was not immediately given a test.

Dr. David Witt, Kaiser’s National Infectious Disease Expert said, according to The Press Democrat, that Armer was in daily contact with her physician, who had been adhering to “public health authority testing guidelines, which have been based on a very limited availability of tests.”

“We offer heartfelt sympathies to Detective Armer’s family and loved ones at this profoundly difficult time,” Witt said in the statement to the newspaper.

Over the weekend, the Santa Rosa Police Department shared a photo of flowers sent to the station in response to Armer’s death.

“We would like to thank the many members of our community who have dropped off flowers, cards and offered condolences for everyone here at SRPD and to Detective Marylou Armer’s family. The outpouring of support, love and kindness from our community means so much right now. Thank you, from our family to yours! Be safe and be well. #BlueForMaryLou #StayAtHome #NeverForget.”

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.