California Mother and Daughter Die Just Hours Apart from Coronavirus: 'It Happened So Quickly'

Carolina Tovar and her daughter Letty Ramirez died hours apart in separate hospitals

Carolina Tovar and Letty Ramirez
Photo: Gofundme

A California family is weathering two tragedies after a mother and daughter passed away from the novel coronavirus on the same day.

Carolina Tovar, 86, and her daughter Letty Ramirez, 54, died on April 2 just hours apart in separate hospitals due to complications from COVID-19, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“It felt like somebody kicked my stomach,” Ramirez’s 28-year-old daughter Alexis told the newspaper. “It happened so quickly, nobody could believe it.”

Ramirez was first hospitalized on March 19 when her oxygen levels fell and she was rushed to the emergency room at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, according to the outlet. Tovar, who had been close with Ramirez and often spent her evenings with her daughter, fell ill shortly after and was admitted to the same medical facility.

The two were hospitalized at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, but Ramirez — who was diagnosed with diabetes and kidney failure and also suffered from asthma — was transferred to Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., after she was placed on a ventilator.

Carolina Tovar and Letty Ramirez

The family said Tovar’s health worsened after Ramirez was moved to another location and did not wish to be put on a ventilator. The matriarch’s children and grandchildren reportedly said their final goodbyes through FaceTime, though Ramirez could not due to her condition.

“She was ready, and we prepared ourselves too,” Alexis told the Los Angeles Times of Tovar. “We were all still talking to her, telling her we loved her, that we’re going to be OK and she doesn’t have to fight anymore.”

Just hours after saying goodbye to her grandmother, Ramirez’s daughter received a call saying that her mother’s health was still in decline and the ventilator would not help her anymore, according to the outlet.

Ramirez passed away around 6 p.m. after her daughter made the difficult decision to remove her mother from the machine.

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Ramirez’s husband, with whom she shared three children, was also hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms, though he has since been released and is recovering from the virus, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Imagine having tragedy strike your family due to Coronavirus not once but TWICE on the SAME DAY,” a GoFundMe set up on behalf of the family reads. “It is a position we would not wish upon our worse enemy.”

According to the page, Ramirez was the primary provider of her family and her relatives now “find themselves on very difficult financial hardships” amid the health crisis.

“Mother and daughter fell victim to their untimely death due to complications from COVID-19,” a description for the fundraiser reads. “As I post this I think it is never a good or a right time to ask for help but right now if you can help this family in need we would be eternally grateful! We pray that God protects and keeps everyone safe and thank you our family to yours.”

The campaign had raised over $10,000 as of Thursday night.

As of April 16, there have been at least 638,374 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 28,628 deaths from coronavirus-related illness.

Worldwide, there are now 2,088,425 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 139,419 deaths.

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 CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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