Polk County teacher, 24, dies after battle with COVID-19, family says

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 24-year-old Polk County high school teacher has died due to complications from COVID-19, his family told 8 On Your Side Wednesday morning.

D’Anthony Dorsey, a marine biology teacher at Auburndale High School, died at Lakeland Regional Hospital around 9 p.m. Tuesday evening, according to his grandmother, Dixie Dorsey.

Before his passing, his mother, Lydia Dorsey told Staci DaSilva her son started feeling sick after the first week of school, but it’s unclear exactly where he contracted the virus. She said she did not know whether or not he had been vaccinated. She added that he was a longtime athlete with no comorbidities.

“Just within the first week of school, he got sick, so the likelihood that he contracted it at school or through the meeting of the parents or students is what we’re leaning towards because he has not been anywhere,” she said.

Dorsey said her son was turned away from the hospital twice. When his symptoms worsened, he was admitted to Lakeland Regional Health.

“I stood there and I watched them rush into his room and intubate him and that is something you are never prepared for,” his mother said.

For the past three weeks, Dorsey said her son was on a ventilator, struggling to battle the virus, and that he had to start dialysis due to kidney failure.

She went on to urge parents to send their children to school with face masks.

“They don’t want their children to wear masks because it’s uncomfortable or their kids can’t breathe as much or they’re worried about bacteria. What you don’t ever want to see is your child being intubated,” Lydia Dorsey said.