Las Vegas casino dealer from NJ dies after positive coronavirus test

Tuesday 31st March 2020

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A Las Vegas casino worker originally from New Jersey succumbed to coronavirus alone in his hospital room because staffers forbid his girlfriend from seeing him in his final hours, according to a report.

Howard Berman, who dealt cards at Aliante Casino, died at a Las Vegas hospital on March 24 without his sister, brother or girlfriend by his side, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Berman, 66, had been diagnosed with COVID-19 a week earlier, couldn't see his girlfriend of five years, Barbara Gibson, because she was banned from the hospital room, while his brother and sister were across the country. It was not immediately known why Gibson was not let in the room.

"His body just couldn't take handle it anymore," Berman's sister, Gail Rosenthal, told the newspaper.

A week earlier, Berman went to a doctor with symptoms of a fever that peaked at 101, along with fatigue and a loss of appetite. The physician then had rushed Berman to a hospital by ambulance, where he spoke to Rosenthal for what would be the final time.

"I love you, and just take care of yourself," Rosenthal recalled telling her brother.

A doctor later told Rosenthal the worst news possible following her brother's COVID-19 test, she said.

"He said it was positive," Rosenthal said.

The Margate, NJ, native lived in Vegas for nearly two decades, and had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an underlying medical condition that put him at high risk, the newspaper reports.

Rosenthal thinks her brother picked up the virus while working as a card dealer. He also previously held jobs as a mechanic and a taxi driver - and had a deep love for blues music, especially drums.

"It's all we ever heard growing up," Rosenthal said. "We'd get calls in the middle of the night complaining about the drums, and the cops would come ... Music was everything to him."

A Facebook post on the Las Vegas Blues Society Community last week announced Berman's death, prompting dozens of comments.

"RIP Howard," one read. "See you at the jam in the sky."

Berman's body will be cremated and sent back to New Jersey, the newspaper reports.

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