Little Village woman shares how COVID-19 deaths have impacted her life, as well as her community

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the lives for so many across the Chicago area. A resident from Little Village said her family is still feeling loss of her stepfather to COVID-19.

"It is hard. Everywhere we go, it brings up a memory of him," Sarai Camarillo said.

Camarillo and her family are among many in Little Village who have lost a loved one to the coronavirus.

Camarillo's stepfather, Margarito Lucero, died of the virus in May 2020 after working in a factory for about two weeks.

His condition worsened and he ended up in the hospital after having breathing issues. Camarillo said she called the hospital hours later and they told her Lucero did not make it.

"They told me that he passed away and it was shocking. You know, I cried for hours," said Camarillo.

She said her family's life changed drastically. Her mother and sister had to move into Camarillo's apartment. Then, shortly after Lucero's death, Camarillo said she, her mother and sister all tested positive for COVID-19.

She said her family was able to get by with help from her community.

"We know a lot of people who have lost their family members and they're in the same situation as us. They have to live with other families in a small space in a small apartment. It is hard," she said.

Little Village has one of the highest COVID death rates in the city of Chicago. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, over 230 Little Village residents have died due to the virus.

Camarillo said this could be due to the lack of resources and education; she thinks there is a major language barrier when it comes to relaying COVID-19 updates in her community.

She said she'll continue to share her stepfather's memory to keep spreading awareness of the virus.
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