A father and essential worker died of COVID-19. He was afraid of losing his job.

Alisha Alvarez, 28, mentioned a last good-bye to her father at his funeral carrier Friday, nonetheless questioning if she may have carried out extra to persuade him that he did not have to visit paintings if he feared contracting coronavirus.

José Roberto Alvarez Mena, her dad, was once one in all 1000’s of crucial employees who confirmed as much as paintings as California noticed a surge in coronavirus instances after in part reopening its financial system previous this summer season. Alvarez Mena running as the pinnacle of repairs for Challenge Meals Corp. in Trade, California, when he examined sure to COVID-19 on June 28.

Alisha’s mom and older sister, either one of whom who lived with José Roberto, additionally examined sure for the virus right through the similar period of time. Whilst each girls recovered, José Roberto’s signs worsened. On July four, he was once hospitalized after suffering to respire.

He was once then admitted to the sanatorium’s in depth care unit on day after today. José Roberto, identified to folks in his Los Angeles group as “Beto Mena,” spent two weeks attached to a respirator till he died on July 20. He was once 67.

“It is the maximum painful factor, particularly as a result of you’ll’t see them in individual, you’ll’t say bye. Other people need to remember the fact that, once they say they do not need to put on mask,” Alisha advised NBC Information. “This isn’t a political factor. That is harming folks and ruining their lives.”

José Roberto, who was once an engineer through occupation, emigrated to the USA from El Salvador within the 1980s “to paintings and supply for his youngsters,” mentioned Alisha, including that he was once the circle of relatives’s sole supplier. “That is why paintings was once at all times an important factor to him.”

Jose Roberto Alvarez, 67, together with his spouse and 3 youngsters.Courtesy of the Alvarez Circle of relatives

“My dad by no means mentioned no to serving to folks. He was once at all times there for any circle of relatives member it doesn’t matter what. He was once the type of man who would cross into paintings on his days off as a result of his boss would name him for assist,” mentioned Alisha.

The Los Angeles Public Well being Division ordered the brief closure of Challenge Meals Corp. on July 29 for failing to document a COVID-19 outbreak that sickened a minimum of 40 in their employees; additionally they closed two different meals processors. The corporate was once allowed to reopen its amenities someday later.

County officers had been investigating the deaths of 2 Challenge Meals Corp. staff, together with José Roberto’s, the Los Angeles Occasions reported.

The circle of relatives has criticized the corporate for failing to offer protection to José Roberto. Alisha mentioned their movements had been “immediately up negligent.” The circle of relatives says that one month ahead of Challenge Meals’ closure, José Roberto advised them he was once listening to rumblings at paintings of folks getting unwell.

“He would come house and inform my mother that so-and-so is unwell or somebody else is down,” mentioned Alisha. “However not anything was once formally advised to my dad.”

Alisha mentioned the corporate’s habits was once inconsistent with what her father had skilled again in Would possibly when he won an respectable letter from Challenge Meals caution about attainable COVID-19 publicity at paintings after an worker gotten smaller the virus. On the time, either one of her folks examined unfavourable to the virus.

“There are numerous crucial employees and Latino employees at Challenge Meals, who’re there offering for his or her households, who don’t need to talk up as a result of they’re afraid,” mentioned Alisha.

Challenge Meals affirms that their “company-wide well being and protection measures meet or ceaselessly exceed the necessities of well being government” and that they’re hand-delivering a be aware to every worker of their respective facility when the corporate is made conscious about a showed case.

Afraid to lose his process, “or get replaced through somebody more youthful”

As California started seeing a upward thrust in COVID-19 instances, Alisha and her siblings began to fret about their father’s publicity to the virus at paintings, particularly as a result of he suffered from diabetes and hypertension.

Alisha and her siblings would inform José Roberto, “you’ve gotten rights” and inspire him to divulge his preexisting well being prerequisites to his employer with a view to go back to paintings at a later time when coronavirus instances weren’t expanding.

“However he was once afraid to lose his process or get replaced through somebody more youthful,” mentioned Alisha. “And on our phase, we did not make an effort to analyze what his rights would were. I want at the moment, I’d have got a legal professional—that may imply that he would nonetheless be right here with me alive.”

The Alvarez circle of relatives held José Roberto’s funeral carrier Friday. About two dozen folks confirmed as much as a cemetery dressed in face mask. Other people sat on each different chair to stay bodily distance as a clergyman gave a mass in José Roberto’s title. About 40 folks tuned into the carrier by way of a Zoom video convention.

“We needed to put a restrict on folks attending the funeral and we’re a large Latino circle of relatives, so it is been difficult,” mentioned Alisha. “However in some way, it has additionally allowed us to mourn in a extra intimate manner.”

Alisha and her siblings helped their mom transfer out of the home final weekend “simply because there is too many recollections.” Alisha’s folks had been in combination for roughly 35 years.

The circle of relatives not too long ago created the Beto Mena Basis to honor José Roberto’s reminiscence. Alisha hopes the nonprofit will assist Latino households suffering to continue to exist the pandemic, in addition to different communities of colour. Up to now, they have got been in a position to ship fundamental clinical provides and thermometers to households and not using a get entry to to COVID-19 trying out in El Salvador, José Roberto’s local nation.

In the long run, Alisha hopes that the root can assist crucial employees get entry to bilingual hard work attorneys and host meals drives in addition to different group occasions round Los Angeles and Orange County in partnership with different foundations.

The coronavirus has killed a minimum of five,136 folks in Los Angeles County, part of them are Latino.

“Those are not simply numbers. Those are folks. They are moms, fathers, siblings, uncles that don’t seem to be with us anymore,” Alisha advised Telemundo in Spanish final week

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