An assistant nursing manager at a New York City hospital has passed away due to COVID-19. The death of Kious Jordan Kelly has sparked more concerns about the lack of inadequate protection for healthcare workers amid the growing coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
Prior to his death on Tuesday evening, the 48-year-old official at Mount Sinai Hospital told his family he believed he got infected while at work. Kelly was born with “a hole in his lung” and suffered from severe asthma after contracting the virus, according to his sister, Marya Sherron.
A colleague said Kelly directly worked with COVID-19 patients at the Mount Sinai West medical center. It added he frequently went to patients’ rooms and helped decongest the emergency department and guided patients away from the hallway to avoid exposing others.
Sherron expressed concern that the lack of protective equipment for healthcare workers contributed to her brother’s death.
“There’s only going to be more,” she told NBC News. “He’s not the only one with asthma. He’s not the only one with conditions who is going to work every day helping and fighting for people.”
Kelly died amid the shortage of medical equipment and protective gear for doctors and nurses at hospitals across the U.S. New York has also been facing challenges in treating the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 patients.
Mount Sinai Hospital did not confirm if Kelly was exposed to the novel coronavirus within the facility. But it said workers received the necessary protective equipment when working with infected patients.
“This crisis is straining the resources of all New York area hospitals and while we do — and have had — enough protective equipment for our staff, we will all need more in the weeks ahead,” a Mount Sinai spokesperson said. “This crisis is only growing and it’s essential that we not only have all the right equipment but that we come together to help and support one another.”
Due to the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, the hospital did not allow family members to visit Kelly while being treated for COVID-19. Sherron said her younger brother died alone.