ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — With San Diego County's COVID-19 death rate climbing, loved ones are mourning the death of a popular North County youth football coach.
Carlos Chavez came down with a fever, sore throat, and cough in late July. More than a week later, he was hospitalized.
“We had to call 911 because he became very short of breath,” said his wife, Ruth Chavez.
Ruth says Chavez was hospitalized with COVID pneumonia, before being placed on a ventilator. Then, after more than three weeks, Chavez, a husband and father of three teenage boys, passed away at the age of 47.
“It seemed surreal, that it was just a bad dream. Unfortunately, it was true. It was very heartbreaking because he has been my husband for 20 years. We just celebrated our anniversary,” said Ruth.
Ruth calls her husband a caring and happy person.
“Very loving. He walked into a room, and he lit up the room,” she said.
Ruth said her husband, who worked as a hospital record inspector, was passionate about youth football.
For 12 years, he coached for Escondido Pop Warner football, serving on its board for nearly a decade.
“He wanted to make a difference within his community. He said in order to change something for the better, we need to get involved,” said Ruth.
Ruth, a medical assistant, says when it came to COVID-19, "he just felt it was overblown." She said she tried to convince him, but he refused to be vaccinated.
“He was leery about the side effects of the vaccine,” said Ruth.
Ruth, who is vaccinated and also tested positive for COVID-19, suffered mild symptoms. She made this plea to others.
“You need to get vaccinated … In my case, it saved my life. Unfortunately, for my husband not being vaccinated, it cost him his life,” said Ruth.
A celebration of life will be held for Chavez on the football field at Orange Glen High at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 18. It is open to the public.
A Facebook fundraiser has been started to help the family with expenses.