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Community vigil honors 1,100 Coachella Valley lives lost to Covid-19

Nearly 1,100 people have been killed by Covid-19 in the Coachella Valley.

Friday night, those lives were honored at a community vigil at Veterans Memorial Park in Coachella.

With the alters set, families were invited to bring photos or special items of those who died as part of a candlelight tribute.

The event was presented by the Coachella Valley Equity Collaborative, including the Desert Healthcare District.

"It's been a year-and-a-half, almost two years of suffering, death, disease," said Dr. Conrado Bárzaga, CEO of the Desert Healthcare District "We want to reflect on that, also to reflect on the lives we've lost."

The program featured performances by the Desert Mirage International Dance club and prayer offerings from local priests.

Theresa Caballero's 44-year-old son David died in January due to virus complications. She hopes people take one thing away from her experience:

"That everyone gets vaccinated," Caballero said. "I don't want to get political here. Some people think it's political – I don't. It's about your health."

The push continues to grow to vaccinate communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including parts of the eastern Coachella Valley.

"We want this community to be aware that the only way that we can get out of this mess is by getting everybody vaccinated," Bárzaga said.

Some wish they had the chance for a final few words: "I miss you; I love you, and I wish I could have said goodbye," Caballero said.

Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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