CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - Loved ones are grieving the COVID death of a local grandfather and nursing home resident, weeks before he was to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
For six years, Antonio Goncalves had been a resident at a skilled nursing facility in the South Bay. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s nearly a decade ago.
On December 20th, his daughter Vanda got a call from the facility. Her father had tested positive for coronavirus.
"I was very upset. My heart just dropped. I knew what was going to happen," said Vanda.
The 80-year-old Goncalves, who suffered from heart problems, was transferred to a hospital three days later. He was placed on a ventilator. On December 30th, Goncalves, a father and grandfather, passed away.
"Absolutely crushed my heart, devastating. Most horrible news of my entire life. My dad is everything to me," said Vanda.
Vanda says her dad emigrated from Portugal some six decades ago, working for several decades in San Diego as commercial fisherman.
"Everybody he came across, he put out his hand to say hello," said Vanda.
He became a familiar, friendly face in the Point Loma area. So many years later, despite the
Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Vanda’s face was one Goncalves still recognized.
ABC 10News has learned Goncalves and other residents at the skilled nursing facility were scheduled to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week, just two weeks after his death.
"Really sad, really sad that my dad could not hold on that long to get that COVID-19 shot to help him," said Vanda.
As the number of local COVID-19 deaths continues to climb, Vanda is urging others to wear masks and take precautions.
"It’s real, not fake. This happened to me, happened to my family, and I don’t want it to happen to yours," said an emotional Vanda.
A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help Goncalves' family with funeral expenses.