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Widow on husband’s COVID-19 death: 'This shouldn’t happen in America'

Posted at 6:41 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 18:41:19-04

ORANGE COUNTY, N.Y. — The devastated widow of Rolando “Sonny” Aravena, 44, a veteran Verizon worker who left five children behind when he died on March 29, wept when recounting his repeated visits to urgent care and the emergency room.

“I don’t understand,” Melody Aravena said through tears. “I live in the greatest country in the world. It took a week to get a COVID test.”

The results didn’t come in until two days after Sonny Aravena died on his twin daughters’ 10th birthday.

“This shouldn’t happen in America,” Melody Aravena sobbed. “My husband should be with me.”

It was Melody Aravena’s first interview since her husband’s remains were cremated last Friday. She’s very upset that he was sent home during one urgent care visit in Orange County on March 26, when his oxygen level was 89 or 90.

PIX11 asked another urgent care doctor who’s based in the New York City area about the tough decisions physicians are making during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a tough situation,” said Dr. Tamara Moise, who co-owns a different urgent care, and also works in hospital emergency rooms.

“The hospitals are completely overwhelmed. We don’t have enough space," she said. “Because of that, people that are moderately ill, we have to send them home on certain therapies to see if that works.”

For a number of COVID-19 patients who have died, the illness took a sudden turn and their conditions worsened.

“I’ve already had COVID-19, already been ill,” Moise said. “I’ve recovered. I have to watch people die. It’s really difficult.”