25-Year-Old College Student Dies From COVID-19 After Being Denied Testing For The Virus
Bassey Offiong had no known prior health issues.
March 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Despite showing multiple symptoms for COVID-19, a senior at Western Michigan University was denied testing for the coronavirus. The 25-year-old died on Saturday, reports Detroit News.
Bassey Offiong spent the last week on a ventilator in the intensive care unit at Beaumont in Royal Oak.
According to his sister, Asari Offiong, he was suffering from fever, fatigue and shortness of breath but was turned away when he requested a test for coronavirus. He was told he had bronchitis. Bassey had no known prior health issues and was living off campus.
"I told him to ask them to test him," Asari said. "He said they refused to test him."
She did not disclose the location where he was denied a test.
His death was confirmed on Sunday by Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department.
The chemical engineering major was expected to graduate in a few weeks, and now his sister and the campus community are mourning his death.
"I know God has him in his presence," Asari said. "He loved God."
Asari spoke highly of her brother, calling him a “gentle giant” who had big dreams. He aspired to start his own organic makeup line with L’Oréal.
"He's just someone who thinks so big," she said.
President of Western Michigan University Edward Montgomery said Bassey was someone with “enormous potential.”
"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our students, Bassey Offiong,” Montgomery said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire Bronco community, I want to extend my deepest condolences to his entire family... They are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
Kalamazoo County health officer Jim Rutherford mentioned Bassey while urging residents to stay at home.
“Our thoughts are with the student's family and WMU as they grieve the loss of a loved one. We know this student was not a Kalamazoo County resident; however, this virus has no borders when it comes to who it affects and how it is spread,” he said, according to the Western Herald. “We urge everyone to help us fight community spread by following the Governor's executive order. Stay home and, if you must go out for essential items, stay safe by taking preventative measures.”
On Friday, the university confirmed three of its students tested positive for COVID-19. According to the statement, all classmates and professors who had come into contact with the students were notified. The school and its health facility urged against self-diagnosing as it is “beginning to strain our care providers and other personnel.”
As of Sunday, Michigan has a total of 5,486 confirmed cases and 132 deaths.
Social distancing guidelines were extended to April 30 by the Trump administration, according to The Washington Post.