A community in North Carolina is mourning the death of a 26-year-old deputy who died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Deputy LaKiya Rouse died on Wednesday, just a day after she was hospitalized due to illness, according to a news release from Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
Rouse had worked a full shift as a bailiff at the Guilford County Courthouse in Greensboro on Monday, Oct. 19, authorities said. However, when she went to work on the following day, Rouse reported feeling sick and left her post early to seek medical treatment at a local hospital, where she underwent a COVID-19 test as a part of the facility's protocol.
Though her test results came back positive, the sheriff's office said in the release Rouse died "due to medical-related issues" and "no medical official has linked the positive COVID test result to her death."
"Our team suffered a terrible loss," Sheriff D.H. Rogers said in a statement. "No words can adequately express our sadness."
Judge Lora Cubbage, who shared a courtroom with Rouse, also paid tribute to her late colleague.
"She protected me and made sure all things went the way they should. She was full of life and loved to laugh with me," Cubbage wrote on her Facebook. "We talked about other goals she wanted to accomplish in life and she made sure I had my candy on the bench. Lakiya Rouse thank you for opening and closing my courts."
"Thank you for the laughter and the words 'you just a real judge and I like that,' " Cubbage continued. "To her family, we her work family are mourning and praying with you. Heaven’s gain is truly our loss.
According to Rouse's mother, her daughter loved her job as a bailiff and working with people.
"LaKiya was just a spirit, that, even from a baby she was always loving and always like to hug and always loved people," Joy Rouse told WTSP. "She was a smart young lady. Not only did she have the beauty — she had brains behind it."
"One day my baby was here, the next day my baby was gone," the mom added.
The Guilford County Courthouse has been closed since Wednesday, WTSP reported. It will reopen to the public on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
As of Monday, there have been more than 8,739,400 COVID-19 cases and 225,300 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses in the United States, according to a New York Times database.
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