Ambridge chief of police and Freedom community member dies from coronavirus, wife gets contracted


Sam Romutis

This photo of Mark, Sam, and Renae Romutis was taken at the Central Valley Hockey Senior night, the hockey team that Sam played for.

COVID-19 has massively infected millions of people all over the world in the past few months. With more and more people getting diagnosed with the virus, it’s only a matter of time until the virus reaches our community. Unfortunately, it already has.

On March 20, Ambridge chief of police Mark Romutis started to feel sick. With the pandemic on the rise, he didn’t take any chances. On March 25, the officer was tested for coronavirus and the test came back positive the next day, where he started to self-quarantine. He was recovering and getting better day by day, but then was admitted to Allegheny General Hospital on April 10 due to breathing difficulties. Then, at 6:03 p.m. on April 12, he died from a stroke directly attributed to coronavirus.

The family thinks that being the Ambridge chief of police could have been the way that Mark got the virus in the first place.

“Being a police officer, he was most likely exposed to someone carrying the virus while he was on duty,” Sam Romutis said.

Romutis lived in Conway with his wife and son, Renae and Sam Romutis. Sam is a 2019 graduate from Freedom, so this case definitely impacted the community. Both Renae and Sam got tested for coronavirus as well after the death of Mark. On the morning of April 16, Renae was tested positive. Sam was tested negative.

Fortunately, Renae is showing promise of fighting through the virus. She has yet to show any of the symptoms and her temperature has remained normal. 

“She has been keeping busy and not laying dormant,” Sam said. “The doctors told her to get up and about and she has been doing exactly that.”

Both Renae and Sam are staying in quarantine to fight off the virus and slow the spread. However, going through everything is tough, especially when others can’t be there for them in person.

“It’s just unfortunate that we can’t be with our friends and family during this time. We just need that so much right now. It has been nice texting, calling and zooming with people, but the actual interaction means so much more. We really can’t wait until this whole thing is over. I just wish it could all be different,” Sam said.

The word got out quickly between the community and they decided that it was right to help the family out.

“Our neighbors, friends and family members have been amazing, buying us groceries and other basic necessities while we were quarantined inside the house. We are very thankful for everyone who helped us,” Sam said. 

The family can’t wait for the day to see other people once the quarantine order is lifted. Until then, the most important thing to do during times like these is to stay active. Besides, you might not even know you have coronavirus.

“To fight this virus is to stay active,” Sam said. “The virus settles in your lungs can cause multiple blood clots. You cannot lay dormant and wait for it to pass. Quite literally, you have to physically fight it to recover from it. The virus can also infect you without giving you any symptoms. A lot of people might have it without even knowing. Moving around and getting your blood flowing and lungs working is the best way to combat this thing.”