Mom Lives in Daughter's ICU Hospital Room as Teen Battles COVID: 'I'm Not Going Anywhere'

Agnes Velasquez, mom to 15-year-old Paulina, is also battling COVID, but has milder symptoms after getting vaccinated

Paulina Velasquez
Paulina Velasquez. Photo: gofundme

A Florida mother has been by her daughter's hospital bedside for more than 10 days following the teen's positive test for COVID-19.

Agnes Velasquez has been sleeping on the couch in her 15-year-old daughter Paulina's ICU room at Broward Health Medical Center, she told CNN in a video chat.

"I came with my daughter and I'm not going anywhere," Velasquez said.

When Paulina first got sick, the teen told her mother she couldn't breath, Velasquez told CNN. She rushed to her daughter's aid and didn't think to put her mask on first, Velasquez explained, and tested positive for COVID-19 days after.

Paulina had not yet been vaccinated, but Velasquez had, and said she credited her minor symptoms to the vaccine.

"I most likely got it from her," Velasquez told CNN.

According to a GoFundMe campaign set up to help with Paulina's medical expenses, she tested positive on July 11.

"Covid rapidly altered her life," the page said. "Within days, she required a ventilator and was placed in a medically induced coma."

Velasquez told CNN she is getting her sons vaccinated soon — a wish her daughter made once she fell ill.

Paulina's older brother Tomas told CBS 12, "The last phone call was the day before and she wanted to go the next day to get the vaccine and in the blink of an eye, this happened."

Velasquez, whose birthday occurred while she's been at the hospital with Paulina, told the outlet her daughter has been steadily making improvements and said there is hope of taking her off the ventilator.

"Today, actually a very good day for me, as I was praying for her holding her hand she started moving," the mom said.

Speaking of the hardship, she told CBS 12, "I don't wish this on anyone, even my worst enemy, to go through something that I have experienced every single day in this ICU with my daughter."

Paulina Velasquez
Paulina Velasquez and her family. gofundme

Velasquez told CNN that she thinks Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should "encourage people to take vaccines, to wear masks, to apply the (Covid) guidelines."

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On Wednesday alone, Florida recorded 17,589 new cases of COVID-19, marking its fourth-highest spike on a single day since the pandemic began, according to the Miami Herald.

On Tuesday, the CDC updated its nationwide mask guidance, saying that in areas where COVID-19 is surging, all people — even those who have been fully vaccinated — should wear masks indoors.

"In recent days I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that that Delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause Covid-19," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a news briefing. "This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendation."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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