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‘A hero in the truest sense’ | St. Louis County woman who died from COVID-19 was beloved healthcare worker

“Judy Wilson-Griffin was a beloved member of our SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital family. Our hearts break for her family and friends"

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Judy Wilson-Griffin is the first person to die from the coronavirus in the St. Louis area, but she will always be remembered as a beloved healthcare worker.

Wilson-Griffin worked at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, SSM Health confirmed with 5 On Your Side Friday night. An SSM Health spokeswoman released the following statement regarding Wilson-Griffin’s death:

“Judy Wilson-Griffin was a beloved member of our SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital family. Our hearts break for her family and friends and we will keep them in our prayers as we cope with the loss of our cherished colleague and friend. One of our physicians put it best, 'Judy was an incredible nurse, educator, leader and person. Her passion and dedication was second to none. She was a hero in the truest sense.'”

Wilson-Griffin was a St. Louis County resident. She was tested for COVID-19 this week. Her test came back positive on Tuesday. She was in her 60s, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page confirmed during a news conference Friday evening.

"Today is a sad day in St. Louis County. Today we learned that a county resident died from the coronavirus. These are words that I prayed I would not have to say, but as this virus spreads, we knew this day might come," Page said.

Page said she had multiple health complications before becoming sick.

Page offered his condolences to the family while sharing the news with the St. Louis area.

"There are really no words that can feel the pain of a loved one's loss, but we know that our hearts are aching and know that our community is mourning your loss," Page said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus kills another Missouri resident, a woman in her 80s

Page said health officials don’t know if the woman had recently traveled. At this time, they aren’t saying how the woman might have contracted COVID-19. Without knowing her travel history, county officials said they're left to assume it was acquired in another way, possibly through the community.

"That is the expectation that we expected to happen throughout St. Louis County," said Spring Schmidt, acting co-director for the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. "And so, we do believe that time is here."

The woman was tested this week and was diagnosed within 48 hours, county officials said.

The positive test result came back positive on March 17. She was in treatment at an area hospital. They did not say which hospital.

Wilson-Griffin appeared in this 5 On Your Side story in 2018 about maternal mortality.

This is the third confirmed death from the coronavirus in the state of Missouri. The other two deaths were in Boone County and Kansas City.

St. Louis County has 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases. At this time, 49 tests have come back negative in the county. During his news conference Friday, Page said the cases are spread throughout the county.

READ MORE: Coronavirus latest: 47 positive cases in Missouri

On Friday, St. Louis County launched a text messaging service to help county residents stay updated on the latest coronavirus information. To receive alerts, text STLOUISCOALERT to 67283. 

St. Louis County also has a 24-hour coronavirus hotline. Residents are strongly urged to only call the number if they're experiencing symptoms of a fever, cough or difficulty breathing or if they came into contact with someone who tested positive. The phone number is 314-615-2660.

St. Louis County also has a dedicated website with information about the coronavirus at stlcorona.com.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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