Susie Garcia's family speaks out after she loses her battle to COVID-19, becomes first COVID-19 death in Kern County

Susie Garcia's family speaks out after she loses her battle to COVID-19, becomes first COVID-19 death in Kern County
Susie Garc
Posted at 6:26 PM, Mar 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-29 03:19:35-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — 52-year old Susana Garcia, better known as Susie is a beloved mother and grandmother. Sadly, she is the first Kern County resident to lose her life to COVID-19.

She passed away at the Delano Regional Medical Center around 2 a.m. on Friday. She leaves behind her children and seven younger siblings.

“She was the rock really of our family,” said Jessica Juarez, daughter of Garcia. “She was strong, loving courageous and never gave up on anything. She really was an amazing mother."

Hector Juarez, son of Garcia's, says that Susie was a well-known business owner who operated furniture and sporting good stores in Delano. The family says her service to the community was unmatched.

"My mom left too soon. I definitely needed my mom," said Hector. "If there's one thing that I can say that my mom had taught me or told me now would be that, value your parents, value the time you have with people."

Hector tells 23ABC, his mom had underlying health issues going into her battle with COVID-19.

She had triple bypass heart surgery 12 years ago and nearly lost her leg after being bit by a brown recluse spider.

Garcia's family says she always won these battles, but her new undertaking with COVID-19 was a lethal one. Hector says it all began with a cough.

"She consistently had a fever that was uncontrollable, it was over a 100 she was having trouble breathing," said Hector. "They had to put her on a ventilator at one point and eventually up until the last moments she was battling this virus. It's important that people are aware of the reality of this."

Jessica Juarez said watching her mother's health plummet was devastating. Her last conversation with her mother was on Tuesday in ICU.

"She was scared at this point for her life because she was out of breath and she needed to be put on a ventilator," said Jessica. "She begged me and cried to not let the doctor put her on the ventilator, but it kept her alive for a few more days."

While the family appreciates the community's support they're also deeply hurt about rumors spread on social media, claiming their entire family tested positive for COVID-19.

"People are assuming that because my mom and some of my family members have tested positive that we should be shamed upon," said Jessica. "This is a time that we are grieving the loss of my mother."

Hector says that on Saturday he received his COVID-19 results and it came back negative and the rest of his family is still awaiting their results. To see the full interview be sure to click the next video on this article.