Family: Leon Police Chief death could have been avoided by wearing a mask

Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 5:03 PM CST
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LEON, Kan. (KWCH) - Photos and videos will have to last a lifetime after Leon Police Chief Jerry Farthing died after a four week battle against the coronavirus -- a battle the family believes could have been avoided with masks.

“In between hospitalizations, Jerry told me he would wear a mask from here on out, because it was so horrible,” Anita Farthing said.

The 63-year-old was relatively healthy until contracting the virus in early December.

By the time doctors decided the police chief needed intensive care, it took several days to find an ICU bed available in Kansas.

“We weren’t even looking for a COVID unit, just an ICU, and there weren’t any hospitals available,” Anita Farthing said.

Turning critical patients away is a harsh reality inside some hospitals after a surge in patients across the state.

“At the end of October, there was a lot of expectation as to what the fall spike would look like for COVID and when it really hit hard and there was that first part of November, where it was just brutal for the state, we had hospitals making six, eight, 10 phone calls over six, seven, eight hours to be able to find placement for patients,” Dr. Richard Watson said.

The police department lost its police chief, and his wife is a widow at just 60-years-old.

The family wanted to stress the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing -- even as vaccine roll out continues across the state.

You can donate to help with funeral expenses here.

The city of Leon is mourning the death of its police chief.

The city made an announcement on Facebook saying their chief, Jerry Farthing, died of COVID-19 complications.

The city said it was a huge loss for their community and that he will be greatly missed.

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