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NBC Los Angeles

Coronavirus Concerns Keep Family from Visiting Hospital Patient

Patricia Matias says she thought it was strange that her
boyfriend was throwing up in the restroom at 2 a.m. He had been feeling sick and
having migraines for weeks, and when she went to go check on him, she found him
on the floor.

Jose Figueroa, 2…

Patricia Matias says she thought it was strange that her boyfriend was throwing up in the restroom at 2 a.m. He had been feeling sick and having migraines for weeks, and when she went to go check on him, she found him on the floor.

Jose Figueroa, 25, was rushed to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center on Tuesday. He was admitted to the emergency room, but his family was turned away – an effect of tightened standards after the coronavirus outbreak.

“They were saying because of this virus we can be there,” Matias said. “That’s all they’ve been telling us and they’re like, ‘I’m sorry,'”

Jose doesn’t have the coronavirus, according to his brother Santiago Figueroa, though he did need brain surgery. But the hospital isn’t allowing family members to be with him during and after the surgery.

“It’s very hard for us, because we’re very desperate to see him,” Santiago said.

Colleagues have rallied around Jose, with some at one of his two service jobs even launching a GoFundMe to help with his bills.

“I’m very, very grateful for everyone that has helped us at this moment and I just want him to be here with me now, to see all of this,” Matias said.

Most hospitals tightened visitor standards because of the coronavirus pandemic. Jose’s family members say they understand – they just don’t want him to face this rough patch alone.

“We’re hoping after he gets out of intensive care, they’ll move him to a different floor,” Matias said. “We’re going to try to go see him, but I don’t think they’re going to let us, because they’re saying no one can get in.”

Jose is in stable condition after his surgery, his family members said, but his treatment could last up to two weeks. They said they are grateful for the updates the hospital gives them by phone, but miss being with him.

“All I want is everyone to have prayers for my brother, and not only for my brother, but for every person that is in the hospital having any situation with the coronavirus or with any other issue,” Santiago said.