A 20-year-old college student in Indiana died last week after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and testing positive for the novel virus, according to a statement from her family.
Bethany Nesbitt, a student at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind., died on Oct. 29 while sleeping in her dorm room, according to the family’s statement shared by her older brother, Stephen J. Nesbitt, on Twitter.
Nesbitt was “positive for COVID-19 and had been quarantined in her dorm room for 10 days,” prior to her death, per the statement. The official cause of death was a “pulmonary embolism — the result of a blood clot — which is widely recognized as being one of the most common causes of death among COVID-19 patients,” the family said. (Kosciusko County Coroner Tony Ciriello ruled her official cause of death as a blood clot. “While COVID did play a role in contributing to the death, it was not caused by COVID,” he noted.)
Nesbitt, originally from Grand Ledge, Mich., “began experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 the week of Oct. 20.” She was tested for the virus two days later and began to quarantine in her dorm room.
However, due to an “unknown clerical error,” Nesbitt never received the results of her test. Still, she continued to quarantine in her dorm while “communicating frequently with her adoring parents and siblings as she recovered.”
The 20-year-old, who was asthmatic, monitored her oxygen saturation levels. On Oct. 26, following a drop in these levels, Nesbitt went to a local emergency room. A doctor there “determined that Bethany very likely had COVID-19, but it was not a severe case and she seemed to be recovering.”
She returned to her dorm, and two days later, “she told her family she had been fever-free for 24 hours and her oxygen levels were normalizing,” the family’s statement read, noting Nesbitt was “encouraged” by these improvements.
She was tested for COVID-19 once more on Oct. 29 and went to bed later that night.
On the morning of Oct. 30, however, Nesbitt was found dead in her dorm room. Her family learned after her death that the result of the second COVID-19 test was positive.
The youngest of nine children, Nesbitt was “the baby of our family,” reads the family’s statement.
The 20-year-old, who was slated to graduate this spring, “was a selfless and loving friend,” her family said.
“She had a passion for helping others, especially children, and her sassy sense of humor and wonderful laugh put them at ease,” it continues.
The family’s statement concluded by urging others to “exercise enormous caution as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.”
“Please don’t assume that young people will not be impacted by this virus,” the family’s statement reads. “Bethany was careful. She wore her mask. She socially distanced.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.