KEY POINTS

  • Antonios “Tony” Tsantinis, 68, of East Brookfield died Dec. 10
  • He had fallen ill just after Thanksgiving
  • His longtime companion, Angela DiUlio, had also tested positive for COVID-19

A 68-year-old Massachusetts man, who contracted COVID-19, has reportedly died, while waiting to be transfered to a hospital for further treatment.

Antonios “Tony” Tsantinis of East Brookfield died on Dec. 10 after falling ill due to COVID-19 just after Thanksgiving. His longtime companion, Angela DiUlio, had also tested positive. The victim's family told the local media the pizza shop owner was unvaccinated, according USA Today.

"The [pizzeria] will be closed for the rest of the week," read a post Tsantinis had shared on social media in November, informing his fans about the closure of Athens Pizza in Brimfield. "Unfortunately we have been exposed to Covid."

According to Tsantinis' daughter Rona Tsantinis-Roy, her father was initially admitted to a hospital in Southbridge, but as his condition started to deteriorate, he needed additional care. However, the hospital he was in did not have the necessary facilities. The family decided to transfer him to a different hospital. 

"They called every hospital within 75 miles," Tsantinis-Roy said, adding by the time there was a spot for him at a Connecticut hospital, he was too sick to be transferred, according to USA Today.

Tsantinis' kidneys began to fail and he needed dialysis, NPR reported. However, as they were unable to provide him with the dialysis his condition worsened, and he died. 

"He literally looked me in the eyes and said this didn't have to happen," Tsantinis-Roy recounted to NPR when the doctor told her her father was dead. 

Tsantinis-Roy also told the outlet her father "didn't believe in vaccines," and despite being requested several times, he refused to get jabbed.

Massachusetts hospitals — as well as hospitals nationwide — are crowded with patients not only with COVID-19 but with other ailments. Doctors say many of these patients with range of illnesses and injuries, including heart problems, strokes, diabetes complications, drug overdoses and mental trauma.

"It's very unfortunate when we can't transfer patients," Dr. Kathleen Kerrigan, president of the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians, told NPR. "It means that our system is broken somewhere in the process."

COVID-19 cases have been surging since the Omicron variant emerged in November last year. According to John Hopkins, the United States reported 644,814 cases in the past 24 hours.

A man undergoes a rapid Covid-19 test at a medical van in New York on December 17, 2021 A man undergoes a rapid COVID-19 test at a medical van in New York on Dec. 17, 2021. Photo: AFP / Ed JONES