Although the coronavirus vaccine is becoming more widely available, one local family is urging people not to let their guard down.
"It's like trying to put every emotion through a door and they are all kind of stuck there," Ivan Gonzalez told NBC 7.
It's been two months since the Gonzalez siblings lost their father to COVID-19.
“He was a great man, a smart man, a great father, a great husband and a great brother," Gerardo Gonzalez said.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
Gerardo Gonzalez Sr., 63, was an essential worker at a landfill in Chula Vista. His family said he never missed a day until contracting COVID-19 in mid-October.
“The day after he got the positive test results, he had to be admitted to the hospital," said his daughter, Indira Gonzalez.
The family believes Gerardo Sr. contracted the virus at work. At home, he spread it to two of his kids and their families. Everyone experienced mild symptoms except for him.
“Every time we got to talk to him, he was feeling better, but his condition was worsening,” said Indira.
Within seven days, Gerardo Sr. had to be intubated. And nearly two months later, he died.
“He was a strong person," Indira said. "That's why it was hard [to believe] when it just kept worsening.”
The Gonzalez held funeral services for their patriarch on Saturday, and then, on Sunday, the family received news no grieving family expects: Their mother had also died.
While her husband was in the ICU being treated for coronavirus, Martha González, too, was hospitalized. While the 62-year-old had a history of diabetes and heart issues, her death still came as a shock. The couple had been married for 42 years.
As they try to cope with the loss of both their parents, the Gonzalezes are pleading with the community to continue taking the virus seriously.
“Don't take it for granted,” Ivan said. “It’s serious. It's not a joke. No matter how many times you read all these news articles, they all have a point: It’s dangerous. Protect yourselves."