South Bay Family Mourns COVID-19 Death

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The coronavirus has changed a lot of things about residents’ daily lives but it’s also changed the way a South Bay family has dealt with the death of a family member.

The last time Jessica Villalobos saw her stepmother Carmen was February 29 at a family birthday party.

“In her words she said, 'mija, I don't feel good. I think I'm coming down with a fever,’” said Villalobos.

Over the next three weeks, she went to a San Jose emergency room twice and tested positive for COVID-19 the second time. She was fighting for her life alone, separated from family for fear she could be infectious and on March 31, the conversation with the doctor came.

“I was still like, no this isn't happening,” Villalobos said. “You have to try everything you can, you can't take her off life support until we say. And he sounded so stressed out. He was like in tears, she said ‘we are trying the best we can.’”

Carmen left behind her son Victor Villalobos Jr, a freshman in high school, and her husband Victor.

“We feel her loss because we cannot be with her in her last moments.” her sister Carmen Romero-Hinojosa said. "We feel her loss because we cannot be with her in her last moments"

Those in Mexico hadn’t seen her since her 44th birthday party back in October and they won’t be able to be with her when she’s buried. Because of special coronavirus precautions, Carmen’s funeral can’t be held until April 13, nearly a month after her death.

Only 10 people can be there, including a pastor and the service can only be 30 minutes long.

The delayed mourning simply adds to the pain the whole family is feeling.

"I lost my step mom,” said Villalobos. “I fear for my mom who's diabetic. So, please take it seriously. Once it hits you it happens so fast."   

Villalobos said her dad and her little brother are shellshocked. They were both in 14-day quarantine because Carmen had COVID-19 and even now, they don’t want to be around anyone.

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