KTLA

‘My mom died in complete agony’: Family and friends mourn Riverside nursing assistant who died of COVID-19

Coworkers, friends and family on Friday held a vigil to honor the memory of 67-year-old Rosa Luna, an employee at Riverside Community Hospital who died of COVID-19 earlier this month.

The woman’s daughter, Dora Reaza, said her mother was dedicated to her job and always strived for excellence as a nursing assistant, and more recently, as a member in the hospital’s housekeeping staff.

Reaza cared for her mother as she battled the respiratory illness before dying at home on May 8.

 “It’s a horrendous death. You don’t want your children or your family members to get this virus,” the daughter said. “My mom died in complete agony.”

Coworkers said Luna kept working during the pandemic, even though she sometimes worried about the spread of the coronavirus.

They said her death came as a shock.

“I just wish she had an N95 mask,” former coworker Margarita Castro said.

It’s unclear where Luna contracted the virus. The Riverside hospital didn’t provide information on the kind of personal protective equipment that was available to her as she was working.

The hospital released a statement saying its Auxiliary group has established a scholarship in Luna’s name so others can follow in her footsteps and become Certified Nursing Assistants. 

“Riverside Community Hospital is devastated by this loss. Rosa Luna was part of this hospital for the better part of 25 years and served as a Certified Nursing Assistant and more recently in our Environmental Services Department,” the hospital said in the statement.