Grandmother Dies Battling COVID-19, Daughter Vows to Raise Awareness In Her Memory

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A Chula Vista woman said she was a coronavirus skeptic until the virus hit home and left her mourning the loss of her mother. Now she's warning others to take precautions.

Carmen Diaz said her mother, Elva D. Castaño, 64, was a mother of three and grandmother of three, and a retired Olivewood Elementary School supervisor.

“She would make me laugh; she would challenge me. She was the one that I went to if I had any problems,” said Diaz.

Castaño started showing COVID-19 symptoms Dec 1., including congestion and a light cough, Diaz said. But those symptoms progressed.

Seven days later Castano was rushed to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center where she tested positive for COVID-19, Diaz said.

Diaz started sharing her family’s story on Twitter.

“…My mom is currently at Sharp Chula Vista. She’s battling COVID-19. As of yesterday, I was informed that she was infected and I might, possibly be infected. I have not exuberated any signs…,” Diaz said in a video she posted.

Diaz said her mom took the virus seriously and always stayed home. She even had her groceries delivered to her home to protect herself from possible exposure. But somehow, she still managed to get COVID-19.  

“This virus does not hold back,” Diaz said in another Twitter video update.

She told NBC 7; “On her (Castano’s) final day that we got to see her on telehealth, my daughter learned how to say, ‘I love you’ to her. Then my mom cried, and my mom told her, ‘I love you Lilly girl.'”

The next day Castano was put on a ventilator and was eventually 100% reliant on it, Diaz said.

“By the time I had saw the x-rays, my mom’s lungs looked, literally, like a piece of gum breathing in and breathing out,” Diaz remembered.

Castano died Dec. 21, and now Diaz shares her mother’s name every day on Twitter.

“We do need to hear their names. We do need to hear it, because I feel like if we heard the names of the ones we lost in California or San Diego, I feel like reality would hit to those who think this is not real, because I was one of them,” Diaz shared.

Now Diaz said she’s pleading with people to take precautions.

“I chose to be smart and I chose to wear my mask and when it’s my time I will chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine as well,” Diaz said. “She was more than a number, more than a statistic, more than a positive test. She was my mom… My mom was Elva D. Castano. She was born June 15, 1957. She passed away Dec. 21, 2020. My mom is more than just a number, she had a name.”

Diaz said her mom struggled with pneumonia years prior, which she believes may have made her more susceptible to COVID-19 complications. No one else in the family tested positive for COVID-19.

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