Royal Oak commissioner who downplayed coronavirus was infected with COVID-19 before she died

Sep 22, 2020 at 11:50 am
Royal Oak Commissioner Kim Gibbs. - Kim Gibbs' Facebook page
Kim Gibbs' Facebook page
Royal Oak Commissioner Kim Gibbs.

A Royal Oak city commissioner who declared the coronavirus pandemic “is over” in April was infected with COVID-19 before she died, according to an autopsy.

Commissioner Kim Gibbs died Aug. 20 from brain damage caused by a diabetic coma that deprived her brain of oxygen, the Oakland County medical examiner told The Royal Oak Tribune.

Gibbs, 48, tested positive for COVID-19 while she was at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where she was taken after she was found unconscious at her home on Aug. 5. Gibbs was taken off life support after she had a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation.

Whether COVID-19 played a role in her death is unknown. The autopsy found no evidence of organ damage that could have been caused by COVID-19.

Gibbs drew criticism in April when she was spotted without a mask at Operation Gridlock, a protest against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. In a head-scratching interview with the Tribune, Gibbs declared, “In my eyes, the scare of the coronavirus is over.”

"I'm not a doctor, but my personal belief is that the people who got it, or are going to get it, have already gotten it, so let’s get back to work," she said.

The commission censured her after she refused to resign.

In May, Gibbs was back in the headlines after she was busted shoplifting at Meijer. In a statement to the media, Gibbs apologized for her actions and blamed the coronavirus restrictions on her lack of income. According to Royal Oak's website, Gibbs was a real estate attorney by day.

“Recently, I had to choose between insulin and food, and I chose the insulin, which helps me stay alive; however, that left extraordinarily little money for food after paying for medical insurance and insulin,” she said.

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