CENTRAL WEST END – The Red Cross announced Tuesday that the city’s first death from the COVID-19 coronavirus was that of one of its employees.
Jazmond Dixon, 31, worked at the Red Cross center at 4050 Lindell Blvd. She began to feel ill last week and was directed to go to a hospital; within days she was put on a ventilator, but she died last weekend.
Dixon had worked in a “non-public-facing function,” the Red Cross said Tuesday in a statement. “The individual did not come into contact with donors or other members of the public as part of their daily job duties.”
The Red Cross said: “Our hearts and greatest sympathies go out to the family and friends of this employee during this difficult time.
“We know this is an uncertain and trying time for many in St. Louis and in communities across the country. The Red Cross remains committed to supporting the community and those we serve as part of our lifesaving mission.”
The Red Cross said a second employee in the same building had tested positive for the virus, and a third is presumed to be positive but has not been tested.
The organization closed the Lindell donor center on Tuesday and was deep-cleaning and disinfecting the entire building.
Extra safety protocols including use of hand sanitizer by both staff and donors had already begun. Staff members’ health is assessed before beginning work, and donors’ temperatures are checked before entering.
“The need for blood is constant and will continue throughout this outbreak,” the Red Cross stressed. “Volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need.”