Tennessee woman who died in February gets letter saying she’s positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus Pandemic

FILE (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (NEXSTAR) — Family members of a woman who died seven months ago say they received a letter this week claiming their loved one tested positive for COVID-19.

What’s even more confusing is Sandra Whittington passed away in February before COVID-19 had been detected in Tennessee. She died in hospice care of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to WATN-TV.

“I’m just having a hard time understanding how they can say someone has COVID-19 when they are not even alive,” her son Troy Whittington said in an interview with WATN.

Whittingham said the notice from the local health department said his mother was tested on June 20 and that test came back positive.

“On her death certificate, it was stated she died, what the cause of death was, and it was not COVID-19. It was COPD,” Whittington said in the interview.  

The Shelby County Health Department has since apologized for the error.

Even with the apology, Whittington can’t help but question why it took two months for results of the alleged June 20 test to be sent out.

“We’re talking two months later,” he said to WATN. “She needs to be quarantined for 10, well we’ve got 60 days from the time of the test to get the letter out to her, which is unacceptable.”

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