Unique Clay, 31, had been working as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for two years.

By Ashley Boucher
May 11, 2020
Unique Clay

A Chicago mother lost her life to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) less than a week after welcoming her third child.

Unique Clay, 31, died "as a result of COVID-19 infection," a spokesperson for the Cook County medical examiner's office tells PEOPLE. "The manner of death is natural." She died last Tuesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Clay was an essential worker, and had been working as a letter carrier for the US Postal Service for two years, the Sun-Times reported. The USPS did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

She is believed to be the first letter carrier in Chicago to die of the contagious respiratory virus, the National Association of Letter Carriers told the Sun-Times. At least 30 other letter carriers have contracted COVID-19.

The Sun-Times reported that there have been at least 1,606 postal employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, "with some deaths."

Clay's family told CBS Chicago that she felt like she was "coming down with a cold" while she was in labor and that she was tested for COVID-19 while she was in the delivery room. Her test came back positive, and she was discharged from the University of Chicago Medical Center. She died less than a week later.

Unique Clay

"When she was in labor, she was running a fever, and they gave her the test for the COVID," Clay's father, Alan Brown, told Fox 6 Now, expressing confusion at his daughter being sent home from the hospital so quickly. "When they did let her go home, they gave her ibuprofen, and we were told from watching the news that that feeds the virus itself. You’re supposed to give them Tylenol."

"The University of Chicago Medicine community extends the deepest sympathy to the family," the University of Chicago Medical Center told CBS Chicago. "We cannot comment on individual cases due to patient privacy laws."

Clay's friends and family remember Clay as a dedicated mother.

"I would just like people to know that she was really, really a nice girl, and she just gave her all to family, and I just wish this had never happened," Clay's friend Liz Price told the outlet.

NALC president Mack Julion told CBS Chicago that the union's members "have to take extra precaution out there."

"The American people are counting on us to deliver," he said, adding that the union has been tracking cases of COVID-19 among its members and that "we want letter carriers to be tested. We are essential. We’re out there. We’re engaging with the public daily. So they can get home safely to their families."

It's unclear if Clay suffered from any pre-existing medical conditions prior to contracting the virus. People ages 65 and older are at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus, as are people with underlying medical conditions, including heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, liver disease and chronic kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All but 6 percent of patients who needed hospitalization had one pre-existing condition, and the majority — 88 percent — had two or more, according to a large study of thousands of patients in New York City that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"It is believed that pregnant women may be at higher risk of severe illness, morbidity or mortality compared with the general population," according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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This Story Originally Appeared On people