Guillermo Ramirez was only 47 years old and did everything health experts advised. He wore gloves and face masks, used hand sanitizer and always disinfected his steering wheel and his family’s groceries.
But when the coronavirus spread between ten members of the Azusa family, infecting people ranging in age from an 8-month-old baby to a great-grandmother in her 70s, it hit Ramirez the hardest.
The father of seven and grandfather to three ended up on a ventilator, battling the respiratory illness for two weeks alone in a hospital, where he later died on April 28.
Hours before, he had called his wife Luciana Ramirez, telling her he was scared and that he couldn’t breathe. He told her he was begging staff at Emanate Health Inter-Community Hospital in Covina for help, she told KTLA Tuesday.
She tried to reassure him, and asked him to get some rest.
“I love you so much,” she had told him.
“I love you too, mi amor,” he replied.
She didn’t know these would be their last words to each other, Ramirez said. A doctor had later called to notify her of the death.
Guillermo Ramirez’ family said he had no known underlying health conditions and that they had no idea where they contracted the virus from.
“I was hoping he was gonna come home. I didn’t think he was gonna die,” his daughter, Beatrize Ramirez, said.
Most other family members who tested positive, including children, had either mild or no symptoms. The great-grandmother and a 25-year-old had been hospitalized, but both have since started doing better, according to the family.
Luciana Ramirez said she wasn’t allowed to see her husband after he died, or give him a proper burial.
She said the family is speaking out about losing Guillermo Ramirez and his battle with COVID-19 to warn others about the dangers of the virus.
“It’s devastating. We can’t even bury him right,” Luciana Ramirez said.
Guillermo Ramirez is one of dozens of Los Angeles County residents who died of COVID-19 that day, and among 1,313 known to have died countywide as of Tuesday.
An average of 45 coronavirus deaths were confirmed every day in L.A. County this past week, according to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.
And so far, 27,815 people have tested positive for the virus, according to the county’s public health agency.
The Ramirez family set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to help support the family after the father’s death.