LOS ANGELES -- A Southern California family is mourning three of its members who died of COVID-19 as the matriarch of the family remains in the ICU fighting the virus.
Close family friend Joe Perez says COVID-19 hit 17 members of the family about a month ago. That's when Perez says the family started visiting each other, as stay-at-home orders loosened and businesses started to reopen.
RELATED: Coronavirus devastates Southern California household, kills family patriarch
"One of the family members had lunch with an asymptomatic friend and then that's how it started," he added.
Bishop Abel Jimenez and his wife of 65 years, Noemi, were both hospitalized with COVID-19. Two of their daughters recently passed away.
Tabitha Medina, 51, and her 60-year-old sister Esther Hernandez, described by friends as so full of life, were admitted to the hospital on the same day but eventually lost their battle with the virus.
RELATED: Coronavirus Map: Updated number of COVID-19 cases, deaths in San Francisco Bay Area
"Such beautiful women. Always had a smile on their face...always had something good to say and I'd be remiss to say they were the best cooks," Perez said.
Their father, Bishop Abel, was a pastor at Christian Life Center in Ontario for more than 40 years. He was admitted to hospital shortly after his wife and passed away this week at the age of 86.
His wife remains in the ICU, unaware that she's lost two daughters and her husband. A GoFundme page has been set up for the Jimenez family to help with funeral expenses.
Now, the family wants to send a message to others.
RELATED: Doctors put pregnant woman with COVID-19 in coma before giving birth
"COVID is real and we should take precautions. Especially if you know that you're feeling symptoms, stay home. Save lives," Perez said.
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- From salons to dinner parties: Experts rate the risk of 12 activities
- California reopening: Here's what's open, closed in the Bay Area
- Watch list: Counties where COVID-19 is getting worse
- When will the San Francisco Bay Area reopen? Track progress on 6 key metrics to reopening here
- Life after COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms will look like
- Here's everything allowed to open in CA (and what we're still waiting on)
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- Experts compare face shield vs. face mask effectiveness
- List: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Bay Area?
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- WATCH: ABC7 Listens 'From Anger To Action: A Bay Area Conversation'
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US