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Coachella Valley nurse dies of COVID-19, dad says

A local father is mourning the death of his daughter who passed away from COVID-19 Thursday night.

Jeff Garcia said his 32-year-old-daughter, Andrea Garcia, worked as a nurse at Rancho Mirage Health & Rehabilitation Center.

He said “families would come in and want to give her gifts and things because of the way she took such good care of their family and she would always tell them no I can’t accept it, this is my job and I do it because I love you and I love them.”

Jeff Garcia said his late daughter tested positive for the coronavirus on the same day she received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, which her employer mandated.

He added that he thinks his daughter's employer should have offered her and her colleagues additional PPE, claiming "they’re not given enough."

The father said "they’re told to recycle it" and reflected on his own experience at work at the beginning of the pandemic, during which he was given one mask "and told to make it last a month.”

Some members of the Garcia family said they have reservations about getting the vaccine, even though the Riverside County Coroner determined Andrea Garcia died of COVID-19.

Her uncle, Michael Garcia, said he feels the vaccine "is not safe" and that he knows "people that did get it and got sick."

Jeff Garcia said he’s unsure if he’ll request a private autopsy to get more details on his daughter's cause of death, citing the high cost.

His brother, Michael Garcia, said he thinks the county should have conducted an autopsy, adding "they’re blocking the release of any kind of information because they’re saying it was COVID and that’s it."

Michael Garcia said he thinks it's "ridiculous" the county won't conduct an autopsy on his niece since "they do autopsies for everything."

However, the Riverside County Coroner's Office states on its website that autopsies are not always performed.

In cases where the deceased have been under the care of a physician who can provide a cause of death to the coroner, an autopsy is waived.

Just a day after seeing his daughter at home, Jeff Garcia reflected on Andrea's life and cherished a birthday gift she had bought for him to honor his service as a Marine -- the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

Jeff Garcia said his late daughter is "going to leave her mark on the emptiness of the hearts of those who loved her and knew her.”

He said he reached out to Rancho Mirage Health & Rehabilitation Center and hasn’t received a call back. 

News Channel 3 also reached out, but have yet to receive a response from the facility. 

Coronavirus / Local News / News / Video
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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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