NJ mayor’s grandmother dies of coronavirus hours after diagnosis

The grandmother of a New Jersey mayor died from coronavirus just hours after testing positive for the disease.

Penns Grove Mayor LaDaena Thomas announced Saturday that her grandmother, Sallie Jones, of Long Beach, California, died earlier that morning from the virus at a nursing home where she had been treated for more than a week.

“She suddenly came down with pneumonia, vomiting, and had trouble breathing,” Thomas wrote on Facebook. “She was transported to a hospital near the facility. She tested positive for the virus. 5 hours later she was gone. My family and I are devastated.”

Thomas, an independent who took office in January, urged others to “take this virus seriously” and to follow stay-at-home mandates unless absolutely necessary.

“I never expected this virus to hit so close to home,” Thomas’ post continued. “I am speechless. Please be safe and follow ALL safety precautions.”

Thomas did not immediately return a message seeking additional comment early Monday. Jones’ age was not included in her post.

The loss has hit Thomas’ grandfather – Jones’ husband of more than 70 years – particularly hard, the mayor told NJ.com.

“I am just praying that people take thing seriously because I believe that it’s going to get worse before it gets better because there are still some people that are not taking it seriously,” Thomas said.

More than 13,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New Jersey, where 161 people have died as of Sunday, according to state health officials.

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