Updated: June 22, 2020 07:35 PM
Created: June 22, 2020 04:34 PM
A health care worker in St. Paul has died from COVID-19.
Dr. Albasha Hume was the men's health director at Open Cities Health Center.
Colleagues say he leaves behind a legacy of helping others and was a fierce advocate for minority groups.
"It's an indescribable loss," said Summer Johnson, Dr. Hume's coworker and chief of strategic development at Open Cities. "People would seek him out. They came to the clinic specifically just so they could work with Albasha. He cared about his patients so much. He was always available for them."
Johnson said Dr. Hume was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-May. She does not believe the 63-year-old had any underlying health problems.
"Within about five days, he was on a ventilator and just never recovered," Johnson said.
Dr. Hume had been working remotely for two months leading up to his diagnosis, overseeing men's health services, and did not know how or where he contracted the virus.
"That's why this loss is even more severe, because COVID-19 just hit so out of the blue to someone we didn't see any health problems with," added coworker Victoria Chuyangheu, community events coordinator at Open Cities. "He was such a wonderful person and he really did dedicate his heart toward everything that he did."
Dr. Hume was originally from Tanzania. Coworkers told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he was passionate about helping African American communities and other minority groups.
Open Cities serves disadvantaged and at-risk communities, providing services regardless of a patient's ability to pay.
"He just was able to bridge so many cultures and really reach out to people and make them feel like immediately they belonged," Johnson said.
She said Dr. Hume was also a beloved pastor at Mount of Blessings Seventh Day Adventist Church in Mounds View and was a "shining light of hope and inspiration" in the African community.
Coworkers said Dr. Hume's death is a devastating reminder about the toll COVID-19 is taking on our state.
"Statistics are one thing," said Chuyangheu, "but when you think about it, they are actual people with lives that have impacted our community."
Dr. Hume's final wishes were to be buried back home in Tanzania, which is estimated to cost about $40,000. This GoFundMe page was set up to help the family with travel and funeral expenses.
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