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Loved ones mourn COVID death of Spring Valley father of 4

Lester Bartolome was unvaccinated
Loved ones mourn COVID death of Spring Valley father of 4
Posted at 4:12 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 22:45:32-04

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) - Days after learning he was about to become a father again, a Spring Valley man passed away from COVID-19 complications.

Lester Bartolome first felt sick more than three weeks go.

“He had a headache. He really couldn't get out of the bed,” said his fiancee Yazmin Soto.

Soto says he tested positive for COVID, and a week and a half later, he was hospitalized with COVID pneumonia.

Nearly a week after he was admitted, Soto texted him a photo of her positive pregnancy test.

The couple have 4 children, including a one-year-old girl.

"He was like, ‘Damn, we're having another kid.’ He was being funny, but I can tell he was happy to be a dad again,” said Soto.

Four days later, this past Monday, the two texted each other into the night.

“I said, ‘I love you.’ He said, ‘I love you.’ I said, ‘Tomorrow, you’re going to have a better day breathing,’” said Soto.

Two hours later, Bartolome went into cardiac arrest and passed away at the age of 40.

"Just feels like a part of me is missing, you know,” said a tearful Soto.

Soto calls Bartolome a caring and special person.

“He was a hard worker, loved his family,” said Soto.

Bartolome — diligent about wearing masks — worked two jobs, including one in pest control. The two were planning to marry next year.

Soto opted for a vaccine, but he was reluctant. He was concerned about side effects.

“He didn’t have any underlying conditions. He wasn’t worried about catching COVID … He said, ‘I have a high immune system. I can fight it off.’” said Soto.

A grieving Soto is now urging the hesitant to look into getting vaccinated.

“If I could go back and change everything, or if we had a redo button … Protect yourself and your family, because it hurts when your family is broken,” said Soto.

A Gofundme campaign has been started to help family with expenses.