3 members of SoCal family die from COVID-19 as matriarch remains in ICU battling the virus

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.

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"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.

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"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.

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"COVID is real and we should take precautions. Especially if you know that you're feeling symptoms, stay home. Save lives," Perez said.

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