An absolute loss': Councilwoman uses family loss to COVID to help community fight virus
Author: Amanda Henderson (News4SA)
SAN ANTONIO - A local councilwoman’s unimaginable loss is highlighting just how much COVID-19 has devastated her community.
Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia represents district 4 on the city’s southwest side, which is a mostly blue-collar, Hispanic population.
The loss is motivating Dr. Rocha Garcia to help her community so no one else has to feel this pain.
“2020 has been an absolute loss," Dr. Rocha Garcia said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has personally impacted her and her family.
“It’s something that definitely takes a toll. Not just on the immediate family but also the extended family,” Dr. Rocha Garcia said.
A total of seven family members have passed from the virus, all from her father’s side. She said at one point there were 15 members of her family in the hospital at once with 30 total being impacted by the virus.
“Within a span of about a month we lost about six of my cousins,” Dr. Rocha Garcia said.
The names of her family members who died due to COVID-19 are Paula Castillo, 63, Francisco Rodriguez, Pura Rodríguez, 62, Samuel Castillo, 38, Martha Garcia and Gerardo Garcia.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted Dr. Rocha Garcia’s southwest side district.
“The current infection rate for District 4 is 13.4 percent. The death rate is at 11.3 percent I think was the last number I saw,” she said.
We dug into San Antonio’s COVID-19 numbers for you. As of September, 76 percent of positive cases were within the Hispanic and Latino communities. That is more than quadruple the next highest case number total.
“If you’re going down the list in San Antonio or going down the list in Texas as to who has actually died from this virus, it’s going to be Hispanic male, Hispanic female, Hispanic male just going down the list,” Dr. Stephen Ramirez with Stone Oak Family Practice said.
Dr. Ramirez said there are two big reasons for this: underlying conditions and less access to health care.
“Latinos take positions that are considered essential. That puts them a little bit more at risk than other populations,” Dr. Ramirez said.
Dr. Rocha Garcia has helped send ROBO calls and distribute food with the San Antonio Food Bank.
She’s also asked SAWS and CPS Energy to share information in their newsletters to make sure her neighbors are getting the message.
“I’ve definitely been trying to figure out since the beginning how to get prevention information out,” Dr. Rocha Garcia said.
She’s also working with district 3 and 5 on the south and west sides, which are areas also hit hard by COVID-19.
“We’re not alone in this. It’s for Hispanic communities across the United States,” Dr. Rocha Garcia said.
At first, she said she was hesitant to let other people become aware of the pain her and her family were going through as it was something they were all trying to deal with at once.
However, she decided to share her story right before Labor Day weekend to encourage people to be more vigilant against the virus as holiday weekends as well as cold and flu season are approaching.