SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Family members and co-workers grieving the COVID-19 death of a Customs and Border Protection officer.
Genaro Guerrero's first symptoms were a runny nose and a fever. Son-in-law Giovanni Tello says in mid-January, Guerrero tested positive for COVID-19 and days later. he was admitted to the ER.
"His oxygen levels were fairly low, and it was recommended that he go to the hospital via ambulance," said Tello.
After weeks in the hospital, Guerrero was placed on a ventilator earlier this month. On February 15th, Guerrero, a father of 4 and 15-year-veteran officer for Customs and Border Protection, passed away at the age of 65.
"It's very heartbreaking ... disbelief, definitely surreal. Doesn't seem like a reality he's gone," said Tello.
Tello calls Guerrero a generous, funny, and outgoing man who loved to hike and loved his job.
"He was lively. His personality filled a room with joy ... He was known for being respectful to his colleagues and the public," said Tello.
Tello says Guerrero, who lived in the Skyline community, never thought about retiring, even during the pandemic.
"He was serving his community and country. There was a sense of commitment to the job. He loved helping people out, and he was a great man for that," said Tello.
Family members aren't sure how Guerrero contracted the virus, but they say he was diligent about masks and other precautions.
COVID-19 continues to impact the US Customs and Border Protection agency. Across the country, more than 7,800 employees, including Border Patrol agents, have tested positive. 25 have died, according to data released by the agency.
Tello urges others to continue taking precautions.
"It's devastating, and it's one of those things you wouldn't want this to happen to anybody. Please stay vigilant," said Tello.
A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help the Guerrero family with expenses.