SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

California family lost a father to coronavirus and 28 family members got infected, son says

60-year-old Vidal Garay died after contracting the coronavirus and at least 28 family members have tested positive. CNN's Paul Vercammen spoke with Garay's son Richard about the impact the virus has had on the family.

Posted: Jun 29, 2020 3:31 AM
Updated: Jun 29, 2020 7:15 PM


Southern California resident Richard Garay tested positive for coronavirus in early June, around the same time his father also got sick, he said.

About two weeks later, his father, Vidal Garay, died of Covid-19. At least 28 family members have since tested positive, Garay said. The family is grappling with grief at the same time they fight a virus that has killed more than 125,000 people nationwide.

Garay, 27, told CNN's Erin Burnett on Monday that his family followed quarantine protocol and guidelines.

'I just believe it happened through minimal contact,' he said, adding that his father visited three households not knowing he was infected and not showing symptoms.

Some of the interactions, Garay said, lasted no longer than 10 minutes.

Garay told CNN he wants to share his family's story so people know the virus is real, and it doesn't take much to catch it.

Family members who tested positive include his parents, a 2-year-old and two other young children, two brothers and a pregnant sister-in-law, he said. A handful of extended family members are also battling Covid-19.

His 60-year-old father died a day before Father's Day.

'Hopefully his death can help save people,' the younger Garay said. 'I don't want him to be a statistic. If his story can save a life, it's worth telling his story. It's real. Doesn't take long to get exposed.'

'Through my father's death and our suffering, we can save one life or hundreds or thousands. ... I just hope people can hear this message.'

His last words to his father

When father and son contracted the virus, they decided to quarantine together at home in South Central Los Angeles to avoid spreading it to other family members.

'We laughed in the beginning because we were going through it together,' the son said.

Then things started going downhill. They started off with a fever that got progressively worse, with both having trouble breathing and eating, Garay said. His father had a rare form of anemia not related to the virus, and started having trouble taking his medication.

Your top coronavirus questions answered

'He struggled to even drink his medication. He couldn't eat. We had no appetite,' Garay said. 'I would force myself to try and eat spoonfuls of soup and tried to force my dad to eat it too.'

During their joint quarantine to pass time, they discussed dying and what they wanted their funerals to look like, Garay said.

Son's condition gets worse

A few days into quarantine, the younger Garay called 911 after he woke up gasping for air. Before the paramedics took him to the hospital, his father sat up and asked if he was OK, he said.

'Dad, I don't think I'm going to make it,' Garay told him. Those were his last words to his father.

Days later, his father was taken to a hospital in Los Angeles County, where he took a turn for the worse and had to be put on a ventilator. Meanwhile, his son was at a separate hospital fighting for his life and on oxygen most of the time -- but not on a ventilator.

His father died on June 20. The day he died, his mother visited the hospital and saw him through a window, Garay said.

Garay does not know how the family members got coronavirus -- there was no party and no big gathering. They believe one person got infected and it spread through minimal contact among various family members.

Relatives are recovering and planning his father's funeral, and he has set up a GoFundMe account to help with the various expenses incurred from the illness and pending memorial.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 10230

Reported Deaths: 215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah248869
Marion164848
Washington158620
Clackamas84525
Umatilla7576
Union3561
Lincoln3464
Deschutes2190
Lane2183
Malheur2061
Polk15912
Linn1579
Jackson1490
Yamhill1398
Jefferson1330
Klamath1301
Morrow1021
Benton945
Hood River930
Wasco911
Josephine551
Clatsop510
Douglas500
Coos420
Columbia390
Lake210
Tillamook140
Crook130
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker50
Sherman30
Gilliam10
Grant10
Harney10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 264681

Reported Deaths: 6373
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1150243487
Riverside19450479
Orange16854366
San Diego16726387
San Bernardino14922269
Imperial7039114
Alameda6855140
Fresno611077
Santa Clara5273161
Kern524582
Tulare4627136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento423669
San Francisco377650
Contra Costa366281
San Mateo3536108
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Marin271921
Stanislaus266045
Kings263432
Monterey206415
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer87711
San Luis Obispo7012
Yolo67726
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4573
Napa3764
San Benito2732
Sutter2523
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1545
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Glenn1220
Yuba1061
Tehama881
Lake871
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono451
Tuolumne430
Inyo331
Amador310
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 76°
Brookings
Overcast
60° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 60°
Crater Lake
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 77°
Grants Pass
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 70°
Klamath Falls
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 77°
Windy and bright Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Monday, July 6 afternoon weather

Image

Monday, July 6 morning weather

Image

Sunday, July 5 evening weather

Image

Golf Tip of the Week: Oak Knoll Golf Course

Image

Saturday, July 5 morning weather

Image

Saturday, July 4 evening weather

Image

Saturday, July 4 morning weather

Image

Jessica Worden, Taroko Asian Tapas Bar

Image

Friday, July 3rd Evening Weather

Image

Economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic