SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Loved ones are grieving the COVID-19 death of a City Heights great-grandmother.
Denise Jones first became sick a few days after her husband started feeling ill.
“She said that her back was hurting so bad, it felt like someone was standing on her back. She couldn't catch her breath,” said Lataunia Mason, Jones’ daughter.
Mason says after her mother tested positive for COVID, she called with news from her doctor.
"She was told it wasn't the old variant, and it wasn’t the delta variant, so I’m assuming it was omicron,” said Mason.
A few days later, on December 12, Jones became incoherent, and her husband called 911.
In the ambulance, Jones went into cardiac arrest and passed away from COVID complications at the age of 61.
“It’s not really anything you can explain, because it’s a feeling of just being lost,” said a tearful Mason.
Mason says Jones, a grandmother of six and great-grandmother of four, was devoted to family and loved to dream.
“She enjoyed life. She enjoyed adventures. She enjoyed traveling,” said Mason.
This past year, she received her associate’s degree with plans to attend SDSU next fall and eventually open her own drug treatment facility.
As for COVID-19, Jones was unvaccinated.
“The doctors told her that she was allergic to one of the ingredients in the vaccine, so therefore, she wasn't able to get the vaccine,” said Mason.
Jones never got into the details of which ingredient. Mason says her mother, a smoker, was 'borderline COPD.'
Mason, who is vaccinated, hopes her mother's story will spark awareness of the evolving COVID threat.
“Even the omicron variant can be deadly. That's what we believe my mother had … Definitely have to take it serious. Definitely take your precautions,” said Mason.
A county spokesperson says they can't confirm individual omicron cases, and haven't yet confirmed any omicron-related deaths.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.