A mammogram technician and mother of a young child was found dead from coronavirus in her Georgia home, state officials said.
Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk says police discovered the 42-year-old woman’s body Thursday (Mar. 19) in the living room of her home in Newnan, about 40 miles southwest of Atlanta, after a family member called the Sheriff’s Office requesting a welfare check.
Hawk said Diedre Wilkes had been dead for at least 12-16 hours before police found her body.
Wilkes’ young child, who is 4 or 5 years old, was alone in the house with her body when police arrived, the AJC reported.
Lab tests later confirmed that Wilkes, who worked at Piedmont Newnan Hospital, had tested positive for COVID-19, but her autopsy report is still pending.
Hawk said it wasn’t clear if her infection was from domestic travel or the result of community transmission.
A rep for Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, said as of Tuesday, the hospital was treating Wilkes’ cause of death as “inconclusive.”
“We were deeply saddened when the coroner notified us on Saturday afternoon of the sudden passing of our colleague,” the hospital said in a statement.
“Despite what has been reported in the media, we understand from the GBI forensic pathologist conducting the study that the results are still pending and it has not yet been determined whether the death was a result of COVID-19.”
The statement continued: “However, because we were told that an initial COVID-19 test performed after her death was positive, and because we know people can expose others before they show evidence of the disease, as a cautionary measure, we have contacted the employees and patients who may have had contact with this employee in the days leading up to the colleague’s last day at work.
“Piedmont is providing these individuals with detailed information for self-monitoring and will offer COVID-19 testing to those who request it. This employee did not work in an area treating known or suspected COVID-19 patients. Our thoughts and prayers are with the employee’s family during this difficult time.”
Wilkes was one of two healthcare workers in Georgia to die from the virus last week, along with a 48-year-old woman who worked at Donalsonville Hospital in southwestern Georgia.
As of Wednesday evening (Mar. 25), the Georgia Dept. of Health reported 1,387 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 47 deaths.