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These families shared their stories of dealing with COVID-19
Virgilio and Milly Munoz quarantined together after a COVID-19 diagnoses in April.

Virgilio and Milly Munoz felt isolated in the same house.

“The only time that we would actually see each other is through FaceTime,” Milly Munoz said.

The couple quarantined into separate rooms with their own bathrooms. Cooking necessitated gloves and masks.

Milly Munoz would leave meals by the door or let him know there was food waiting on the counter.

In early April, Virgilio Munoz said he was experiencing a sore throat, fever and cough “to the point that I just couldn’t take it no more.”

“I felt pain on my bones, pain on my joints,” he said.

Virgilio, a superintendent at Pilgrim’s Pride poultry plant, was hospitalized for 11 days. Following his stay, he was told to quarantine for 14 days and keep out of contact with people.

Virgilio tested positive for COVID-19 April 6.

It would be hard for him to say whether he got it from work or some other location “because the virus is everywhere pretty much,” he said.

“They were very strict at the company. They were taking the precautions needed for no one to be contaminated,” Virgilio Munoz said.

The phone call about the positive diagnosis was hard for Milly Munoz to hear.

“Honestly, the first thought that came to my mind was that he was going to die. It was hard for me. It was heartbreaking news that I wasn’t expecting to hear,” she said.

A week after Virgilio’s diagnosis, Milly Munoz also tested positive.

Even though they couldn’t be too close, she was happy and thankful to God for the two of them to be home together

Saul Reyes and Josue Munoz of Iglesia Refugio de Salvacion.
The church online

When the churches closed, the Rev. Saul Reyes moved prayer to cyberspace.

“Social media has been the platform that has allowed us to stay connected,” said Reyes, pastor of Iglesia Refugio de Salvacion on Monroe Drive in Gainesville.

Reyes said he had partnered with another pastor to make deliveries for people who have been affected by the virus.

“The people that we know that tested positive, we’ve been trying to make meals so they can just heat it up, of course taking all the precautions before we even arrive to the home,” he said.

The pastor said he feels the problem has been growing every day, with the Latino population being hit hard.

Reyes said he has noticed more and more people are watching the online services, as he has preached a message of hope and prevention.

“Everyone is doing their part. Everyone is doing whatever they can, but as a community and as a church, we’re supposed to play our part in the prevention as well,” he said.

Emerita and Juan Bustamente
‘Thankful to God’

Emerita Bustamante and her family all were infected within a week of each other around the end of April.

Her husband, Juan Bustamante, was home for almost a week with a high fever before testing positive.

Emerita was hospitalized for five days, suffering from a high fever and struggling to breath.

"I'm thankful to God because of the medical staff that was taking care of me, they went above and beyond. My room was always clean. The doctor that I had assigned, she was amazing," Emerita said.

Her daughter and son-in-law, both in their late 20s, also became infected.

Juan Bustamante owns a taxi company with a small staff. One driver got sick while another driver was afraid they would be unable to handle the business single-handedly.

"Basically, the company has been without any business the past two, three weeks," Emerita said.

Local churches have helped the Bustamantes with food supplies in their time of need.

Emerita said she never thought she would contract the virus, always taking care of herself and trying to limit exposure. She said she wants the community to take the health precautions seriously so people might "avoid the pain that I went through."

Josue Munoz assisted The Times with translation.

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