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A Texas family lost their mother and father to COVID-19 in a span of two weeks, and before 42-year-old mother of four Lydia Rodriguez went on a ventilator, she had a final request.
“Before she got intubated, one of the last things she told her sister was ‘Please make sure my children get vaccinated,’” Rodriguez’s cousin, Dottie Jones, told ABC 13 earlier this week. “She would be there for her kids right now if she had been vaccinated.”
Rodriguez and other members of her family contracted coronavirus at a weeklong church camp, according to the Washington Post. All four children tested positive and only one showed mild symptoms, but Rodriguez and her husband, Lawrence Rodriguez, were hospitalized last month. Lawrence died August 2, according to the Post.
“Lydia has never really believed in vaccines,” her cousin told the Post Wednesday. “She believed that she could handle everything on her own, that you didn’t really need medicine.”
Rodriguez eventually changed her mind and became more open to getting the vaccine, but by that point, she was already in the intensive care unit, according to ABC 13. She passed away Monday, leaving behind her four kids. She would have turned 43 on Wednesday, the Post reported.
Texas, where fewer than half of people are fully vaccinated, has suffered some of the most severe effects of the Delta variant that’s primarily responsible for the fourth sustained COVID-19 surge in the U.S. At its lowest point just two months ago, Texas was recording fewer than a thousand positive tests a day; now, more than 12,000 people are hospitalized.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who has been fully vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Abbott issued an executive order in May, however, preventing local governments and schools from issuing mask mandates as school returns for in-person instruction, and continues to defend the order—even as children’s hospitals have become overwhelmed by both the COVID surge and a wave of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Some Texas school districts have implemented mask mandates anyway.
Rodriguez’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of medical and household bills, as well as care for her children. As of Thursday morning, it had raised more than $63,000.