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Rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations sparks concerns about winter surge in SD County

Rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations sparks concerns about winter surge in SD County
Posted at 4:31 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 20:12:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As loved ones mourns the COVID-19 death of a father of four, new numbers are sparking concerns about COVID surge this winter.

Danny Mendez, a Chollas View resident, first started feeling sick on October 23, testing positive for COVID-19.

“His first symptoms were a headaches, diarrhea and then fever,” said Edith Sanchez Cruz, Mendez’s cousin.

Cruz, says a week and a half later, he started having trouble breathing. An ambulance rushed him to a hospital.

“Within a couple of hours, were were told he was intubated. Shortly after, his heart rate slowed down, and then we were told he had passed,” said Cruz.

Mendez, a father of four, including a 3-year-old, passed away at the age of 36.

“I grew up with him, so there are so many memories,” said a tearful Cruz. “We are heartbroken. He always had a big smile, funny, loving and caring.”

Cruz says Mendez, who worked for a landscaping company was a devoted family man, who was not vaccinated.

“It was just so new and his fear of needles probably played a role in that,” said Cruz.

Mendez's death comes amid a spike in COVID hospitalizations in Riverside, San Bernardino and Fresno counties, where vaccination rates are lower. Hospitalization rates are up by more than 20% in recent weeks.

That is sparking concerns those numbers could be a precursor to a winter surge in San Diego and other counties across the state.

Health officials have warned of a potential rise in COVID-19 as seniors who got their vaccine last winter and haven't received a booster, see their immunity wane.

As winter approaches, members of one grieving family are making an appeal.

“Understand that COVID is still here. Get vaccinated … Not to wait and not to risk having an outcome like we did for our family,” said Cruz.

San Diego County has seen a slight uptick in COVID hospitalizations in the past month.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.