Imperial Beach Mom Remembered at Día de Los Muertos Altar For COVID-19 Victims

As of Monday, 891 San Diego County residents have passed away due to COVID-19, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency

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NBC 7’s Melissa Adan met with the family of one of the nearly 900 victims that lived in San Diego.

Many families have been impacted by the coronavirus in San Diego County making this Día de Los Muertos even more somber.

At the San Diego County Administration building, there is a memorial honoring loved ones now gone due to COVID-19.

"I want my mother's story to be heard, to be recognized and also remembered and not forgotten," said Brianna Romo.

Romo, 28, said her mom Blanca Ramirez was her hero -- a woman who, despite her struggles, taught her how to overcome anything.

"She was very energetic and she wouldn't let her autoimmune disease get to her, she would keep going with her life no matter what," said Romo.

In June, Ramirez had a stroke. The 54-year-old mother was hospitalized and then diagnosed with COVID-19. At one point, Romo said her mother improved and was then taken to a skilled nursing facility, but sadly she took a turn for the worse.

"She was basically in a coma and needed a heart transplant, a lung transplant, her kidneys were failing and her organs were failing," she said.

Romo was called to be there at her mother's side as she took her last breaths.

"I really wanted her to wake up," she said through tears. "I kept telling her just be strong and keep fighting. Don't give up."

NBC 7's Melissa Adan will have more on how the community is remembering those lost to COVID-19 with altars across San Diego County on NBC 7 News at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.

Despite her loss and pain, Romo hopes other families will heed the warnings.

"Like most people, they don't realize how severe COVID is and how contagious it could be and this was just an eye-opener for us," Romo said.

Ramirez's photo now stands next to others who have met a similar fate. This powerful message on the steps of the County Administration Building is something Romo hopes will impact San Diegans' decisions about the virus.

"I wish I could've done more to help my mother understand that face masks are necessary and will protect you," she said.

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