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MIAMI (WSVN) — A nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami has become the third person in Miami-Dade County to die from the coronavirus.
A spokesperson from Jackson Health System confirmed on Saturday that Araceli Buendia Ilagan, who worked in the intensive care unit, “recently died from complications of COVID-19.” She was 63 years old.
In a Facebook post, Ilagan’s brother said she contracted the virus while treating patients who were sick.
“You’re a true hero in the fight against COVID-19, and we love you so much, and you’ll be in our hearts forever,” Ilagan’s brother wrote in the post.
Messages from loved ones on social media paid tribute to the longtime caregiver. In a Facebook post, her cousin called her a hero in the fight against the virus.
In another post, a friend said, “Too close to home … and rest in paradise.”
These sentiments were echoed in the statement from Jackson Health. It reads in part, “Araceli dedicated nearly 33 years of her life treating some of our most critically ill patients. During her long and storied career, she also mentored and trained other nurses, and was a champion for the profession.”
As we battle this global public health crisis, caregivers throughout the world are bravely serving on the front lines, often putting their patients’ lives before theirs.”
The statement went on to say, “These medical professionals – people like Araceli – are the true heroes, and we salute them all.”
The announcement of Ilagan’s death comes days after the first medical professional in South Florida died from the coronavirus. Dr. Alex Hsu who practiced internal medicine in Margate, died earlier this week, officials said. He was 67.
Hsu, whose medical career spanned nearly four decades, worked for many years at Northwest Medical Center before he opened his own practice near the hospital.
Javonne Young, who owns a senior center across the street from Northwest Medical Center, said Hsu saw his residents regularly.
“Amazing guy. He took care of our participants at our Senior Social Club,” he said. “You see a doctor that’s supposed to know all the proper protocols to disseminate this whole COVID-19, and it got to him, so we just need to take all precautions as necessary and try to get through this.”
“He was the doctor for 38 years in Margate, and very well-loved by many,” said Donna Channell, one of Hsu’s patients, in a phone interview.
Saturday night, City of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina confirmed three of his officers have tested positive for COVID-19.
In a tweet, Colina said, “Please pray for my officers and for the officers who will continue to serve the @CityofMiami during this crisis.”
It remains unclear when Ilagan contracted the virus.
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