HomeAsian Americans9 of the 22 New York RNs who died from the coronavirus...
Don't Be Fooled by Gift Card Scams

9 of the 22 New York RNs who died from the coronavirus were Asian Americans

Maria Guia Cabillon, RN, (second from right) head nurse of Kings County Hospital Center’s Emergency Dept. celebrates an occasion with her fellow nurses.

Views from the Edge

The New York State Nurses Association created a Memorial webpage honoring the member nurses who had died from the coronavirus. Of the 22 listed, nine of them are Asian Americans.

COVID-19 has taken over 67,000 lives in the US and over 1-million have been infected.

The list below is courtesy of the NYSNA:


Aleyamma John, 65, a registered nurse at New York City Health + Hospitals/Queens Hospital Center and a 43-year member of NYSNA, passed away on Tuesday, April 7. She began her career at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, before moving on to the NYC Health + Hospitals system in 2003. We honor Aleyamma’s record of service to the patients of New York, and her career spanning record of NYSNA membership and participation.


Romeo Agtarap passed away from COVID-19 on April 24, 2020. A 63-year-old Registered Nurse and active NYSNA member, Romeo worked in the Emergency Department of New York Presbyterian for 20 years before retiring last year. He had since returned to work as a per diem. His colleagues remember his wit and the way Romeo loved to make them laugh.


Nicanor “Nick” Baltazar, a registered nurse from Long Island Care Center in Flushing, NY, passed away from COVID-19 on March 31, 2020. He dedicated 40 years of his life to nursing, 30 of those here in America. He worked in Long Island Care Center for 15 years, and this year would have been his 5th year as the Director of Nursing. He leaves behind his wife Grace Baltazar, also an RN, and his daughter Abigail Baltazar, who just graduated with her BSN. He will be terribly missed by his family and all of those who have worked with him


Susan Sisgundo, a Neonatal ICU nurse and NYSNA member at Bellevue Hospital passed away on Wednesday April 8 from COVID-19. She was being treated at Queens Hospital. Prior to joining the New York City Health + Hospitals system she worked at Flushing Hospital. A native of the Philippines, Susan was an active NYSNA member, including participation in NYSNA events like our annual lobby day. Susan’s colleagues are organizing to help reunite her with her family in the Philippines. Read more tributes from her colleagues, and how to help her family, here.


Estelita Atienza Solomon, a 72 year-old retired head nurse from Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, passed away from COVID-19 on April 10, 2020. Solomon worked at Wyckoff for more than 35 years. Solomon is survived by her daughter Catherine Solomon, an active NYSNA member at Mt. Sinai Hospital who is currently recovering from COVID-19 herself. Tragically, Catherine and her sister also lost their father, Antonio Solomon, to the virus two weeks prior to losing their mother Estelita.


Ernesto “Audie” DeLeon was an ADN at Bellevue Hospital, where he worked for over 30 years. On April 13, 2020, DeLeon lost his 13 day battle with COVID-19. You can find out more about DeLeon and how to support his family here.

Audie’s colleague Claire Martinez shared these memories: “During his tenure, he was an incredible inspiration and a mentor to hundreds of nurses, doctors and other clinical staff. He was an immensely kind soul with a humble demeanor. He will always be dearly loved by his friends who have become family, his coworkers, and relatives.”

Ernesto’s colleagues at Bellevue Hospital held a service in his honor, and posted a portion of the remembrance on YouTube.


Rebecca Yee, a Mount Sinai Pediatric nurse and NYSNA member since 1999, passed away on April 17 from COVID-19. She was 48 years old. Rebecca had also worked at Centerlight Health System. A week before her own death, Rebecca lost her mother to COVID-19. She is survived by her brother Hubert Yee and father King Sun Yee. You can find out more about Rebecca, and how to help her family here.


Marlino Cagas, an RN at Harlem Hospital and active NYSNA member, passed away April 20, 2020. Cagas worked as a pharmacy tech at Harlem Hospital for many years, before embarking on a nursing career at age 60. He started at the bedside in 2018, and will be sorely missed by his Harlem Hospital colleagues. He is survived by two sisters here in New York, and several other siblings in the Philippines.


“Mama” Guia, as her colleagues called her, worked as the Head Nurse of Kings County Hospital Center’s Emergency Department. She was an active NYSNA member, and served in the hospital for more than 30 years. She also worked at New York Community Hospital in Brooklyn. She passed away on April 26, 2020 due to COVID-19, and is survived by her husband, 4 daughters, 2 grandkids, sisters, nieces, and nephews. Here is a link to a news video about Guia.

Co-worker Shane Degracia, RN composed a message honoring Guia.

A GoFundMe page was established by fellow co-workers to offset the cost of the funeral and transportation of her remains back to Iloilo City, Philippines.

AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our  Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story. 


  1. RE: 9 of 22 New York RNs who died from the coronavirus were Asian Americans: So many Asians work in the healthcare field as doctors, nurses, techs, etc. Hating on Asians means hating on these heroes.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Worth the Time

Must Read

Regular Features