A Tennessee man is sounding the alarm after his local health department sent a letter addressed to his departed mother this week to notify her that she has tested positive for COVID-19, and that she must isolate.
But his mother died from other causes in February, and was never tested for the virus at all — and certainly not in June, as the letter claimed — leading to questions over how the county’s notification was ever triggered in the first place and how tallies of cases are being calculated.
What are the details?
Troy Whittington showed KGW-TV the letter from the Shelby County Health Department addressed to his mother, Sandra Whittington, stating that two months prior she had tested positive for the coronavirus. But Ms. Whittington passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in February as confirmed on her death certificate, weeks before anyone was even being tested in the county.
She had fought a long battle with the disease that took her life, and she passed away in hospice care.
Ms. Whittington had been cremated for months at the time the county claimed she had been tested, indicating that it is “clearly impossible” that she could have been tested on June 20 as the county told her son, according to the outlet.
“I’m just having a hard time understanding how they can say someone has COVID-19 when they are not even alive,” Whittington said.
What’s more, Mr. Whittington questions why — if the county truly believed his mother tested positive in June — did it take so long for the health department to send out a letter telling her to self-quarantine.
“We’re talking two months later,” Mr. Whittington said. “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.”
He pointed out that the notification from the health department came from the same county building that issued his mother’s death certificate, adding further to his questions over how the letter was issued.
KGW also reported that “Whittington says this situation makes him question not only the Shelby County Health Department’s COVID-19 statistics, but statistics across the country.”
A spokesperson from the health department told KGW that a representative called Mr. Whittington on Thursday to apologize for their mistake, and that measures have been implemented to assure it does not happen to anyone else.