A Latina Was the First U.S. Citizen to Die of COVID-19

Her family says she was healthy, on no medication, and exercised regularly

Trish Cabello Dowd

Photo: cusimanocolonial.com

By the end of March, most of the nation was shut down due to the coronavirus. While we were still learning about this virus at that point, the majority of Americans had no idea that the deadly strain had been among us long before. Today, more than a month since our quarantine began, we are learning about the first victims of COVID-19, including a woman from California. 

CNN reports the findings that were released this week which shows the death of 57-year-old Patricia “Trish” Cabello Dowd is one of the first cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. Dowd died on February 6. Her family believed that she had died of a heart attack but were in shock because she was in very good health. Dowd, who lived in Santa Clara in Northern California, experienced flu-like symptoms and canceled a couple of trips because she wasn’t feeling well. At some point, however, she recovered enough to be able to work from home. On the morning of February 6, she had been communicating with a coworker, and then sadly passed away that same day. 

“California’s Santa Clara County had announced Tuesday that tissue samples confirmed two people who had died in early February tested positive for coronavirus — well before the United States’ previously understood first coronavirus-related death on February 29 in Washington state,” CNN reports. 

Doctors had saved tissue samples from Dowd because her sudden death was suspicious and sent the samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. Another victim — a 69-year-old man — was also among those early cases. He died on February 17. 

Reports indicate that Dowd had not traveled recently, which meant she had contracted the virus within her community. Her family told CNN that she was a healthy woman who took care of her diet, exercised regularly, and didn’t take any medication. Friends and family fondly remembered Dowd, expressing their thoughts on a community obit page

“She has been one of only a handful of best friends of mine for 40 plus years. I have actually known for her for 50 years since 1st grade. I love her and miss her terribly…..compassionate, authentic, humorous, positive….her smile would light up a room and such a contagious laugh…they broke the mold creating Trish Cabello Dowd.” 

Another said, “One of my greatest honors and privilege was being asked to participate in Trish and Dean’s wedding. I’ll never forget that day, nor will I ever forget what a great person Trish was. God bless the Dowd family and friends.” 

Click here for more information on the timeline of the coronavirus. 

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