After losing her father to COVID-19 and testing positive herself, Madera woman hopes Central Valley finally takes the pandemic seriously

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Angie Sanchez and her family have been in isolating at home since March 16

MADERA, California (KGPE) — Family of the Central Valley’s first novel coronavirus death has a clear message for everybody: the pandemic is real.

Before he tested positive for COVID-19, Angie Sanchez said her father, Jose Sanchez Barriga, just underwent a physical and had no health issues detected. Sanchez said her family often called her father Superman.

“Everybody knows my dad for giving the best hugs and just always having a smile,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said her family started isolating at home starting on March 16, after a COVID-19 contact investigation tied them to a case. Three days later is when her dad started to show symptoms, having coughing fits.

Angie Sanchez and her father, Jose Sanchez Barriga.

He’d end up testing positive for two types of flu before he tested positive for COVID-19 on March 23. In the days following that, he developed pneumonia and was put on a ventilator.

On March 26, Sanchez said her family got a call her father wasn’t doing well. Then a couple of hours later, she found out her father died.

“It was hard because nothing was wrong with him. He was a healthy, strong individual. The virus took him from us,” Sanchez said.

Aside from her father, Sanchez and her mother have since tested positive for COVID-19. She said her family has been following the quarantine orders very seriously.

“To not be able to get a hug from family for support — it’s a nightmare within a nightmare,” she said of the quarantine.

Sanchez wants her family’s experience to serve as a wake-up call. She hopes all communities in the Central Valley start taking health guidance seriously.

“What we went through with the loss of my dad, that’s something we’re trying to prevent for everybody else,” she said. “This thing is invisible. So, why put yourself at risk and possibly expose yourself and your family,” Sanchez said.

Tulare County reported its first COVID-19 death this weekend. At this time, the state is reporting 101 patients have died from the virus, including someone younger than 18.

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