The wife of a B.C. man who died of complications from COVID-19 is sharing her family’s story in hopes of spreading the word about the deadly consequences of the disease.
Warlito Valdez, 47, was found dead by his wife Flozier Tabangin last Sunday in their Vancouver townhouse.
Valdez had been upstairs, keeping in self-isolation, after he’d tested positive for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing site in Vancouver.
“My priority now is how to start all over again,” Tabangin told Global news.
“With the paychqeue that I have, I don’t know how can I pay this house, how can I pay for my car, without the help of my husband.”
Valdez leaves behind his four-year-old daughter Zierlet. By Thursday online fundraiser had raised more than $100,000 for the family.
UPDATE: “Again thank you to all. We love you and God bless. Flozier and Zierlet.” MORE THAN $100,000 raised for family of deceased frontline support worker who died after contracting COVID-19. FULL STORY @GlobalBC pic.twitter.com/HzOf31WqO0
— Rumina Daya (@rdayaglobal) April 9, 2020
Valdez worked at Pendleton House, a group home for people with developmental disabilities in Richmond.
“My husband, he died from being a hero. He saved the life of the residents where he worked, while he stayed in this house,” she said.
The Richmond Society for Community Living, which operates Pendleton House, confirmed Valdez was a residential support worker.
“We became aware that he tested positive to COVID-19, which may be related to the incredibly important work he was doing,” said the organization in a social media post.
“We grieve the loss of a friend and colleague; RSCL has reached out to Warlito’s family to arrange for any support that we may offer during this difficult time, and we offer our deepest condolence to his family.”
Tabangin, who is also a front-line care worker at a Metro Vancouver seniors’ home, said she had been in daily communication with Vancouver Coastal Health about her husband’s condition.
She said Valdez’ only symptom was a fever, and that he had been instructed to take Tylenol as a treatment and call 911 if his situation worsened.
She said she last spoke with her husband Saturday night when she made him some chicken noodle soup and said good night.
She checked on him the next morning after he failed to answer his phone calls and found him unresponsive.
“I tried to do chest compression, but he was gone,” she told Global News through tears.
“It’s devastating with my little one.”
Tabangin said she is not blaming anyone for her husband’s death, but wants people to know how deadly the disease is.
She said she does want to see more communication on what people should do when they are diagnosed with COVID-19.
She said while the government has been clear about support for people laid off due to the pandemic, it is not clear what benefits are available to the families of people who lose their lives to the virus.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.