‘My dad didn’t have to die’: Daughter of Belize’s 3rd COVID death says gov’t abandoned him

In happier days, Shumari Romero (left) shares a light moment with her father Luis Romero Senior (centre). Romero Snr died on Friday from coronavirus-related complications in Belize City, however, the family feels enough wasn’t done before his condition quickly deteriorated. (Photo: Facebook @Shumilex)

Health authorities in Belize confirmed the country’s third coronavirus-related death, however, at least one family member of the recently deceased has expressed their disappointment with how the case was handled.

Luis Romero Senior, 52, died on Friday evening (August 14), less than 12 hours after he was admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) in Belize City.

Romero’s confirmatory COVID-19 diagnosis came just before he passed, but his daughter said that the family has repeatedly asked for tests since last Thursday. Shumari Romero, in a Facebook post which has gone viral, said that the Ministry of Health initally told her father he ‘probably had a bad flu’.

While mourning the loss of her father, Shumari argued that the post was necessary to clear up several rumours, which pinned her father’s infection on her brother.

“My dad passed away just some hours ago, he had symptoms during this week which progressed within one day. My brother begged MOH (Ministry of Health) to test him from last week Thursday, they said he had no links to anybody positive and a bad flu is going around and if he went to a clinic they will give him meds and that’s it,” Romero began.

The high-risk patriarch’s condition continued to worsen, according to his daughter, as the days went by, and still, they begged the authorities to intervene.

“Friday someone came forward that they were positive and my brother working on and off at a nightclub in Belize thought that was the link. He begged MOH to test him Friday and they said they would and did so Monday,” the post continued.

“We received his results after I sent a strong message to MOH saying both were experiencing symptoms YESTERDAY. They did not test my dad but my mother, nephew, and brother’s gf were tested. Why he wasn’t test? Because they said he probably already has it,” Shumari added.

Shumari further explained that her father started feeling dizzy Thursday night but went to sleep. It wasn’t until the family awoke the following morning that her brother called the ministry again to advise them the elder Romero was “just moaning and groaning in response”.

“They sent an ambulance and he was admitted in ICU and intubated. We received the call a bit after 2pm this afternoon that he had passed…Was he positive, we still don’t know,” she explained.

Romero has been the third death from COVID-19 complications in Belize, with all three victims being middle-aged men.

Belize has seen a resurgence in confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with some 452 infections as of Saturday (August 16).

Shumari urged her loved ones and fellow Belizeans to stay safe and not to wait for things to get worse before seeking medical attention if they suspect they may have contracted COVID-19.

“For all my loved ones, be safe, if you have symptoms, BEG for a test, don’t wait. Demand it. If you can’t breathe or feel dizzy, go to the hospital or clinic and demand attention,” she said.

I just love the way rumors work in Belize and it’s sad that I have to do this, but we truly live in a f*cked up country,…

Posted by Shumari A Romero on Friday, August 14, 2020