Mesa family loses father to COVID-19 despite being careful and following guidelines

Posted at 7:44 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 21:44:38-05

MESA, AZ — Arizona is seeing an all-time high in COVID-19 numbers Thursday. The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 9,913 new cases and 297 additional deaths since Wednesday.

Those numbers represent real people and families in Arizona, including the Lechuga family in Mesa.

Rogelio Lechuga nicknamed "Ro" died from COVID-19 on October 26. He was 44 years old.

His wife Susan said Rogelio was a family man. Born in Mexico, he moved here when he was young, and worked hard to provide for his wife and three kids.

"He went to school while working 80-hour weeks so he could take care of us," said Susan Lechuga.

Susan and Rogelio got married when they were 19 years old. She said he was their light.

"Rogelio could make you laugh, and he was just my complete world, he turned me into who I am today," said Susan.

Susan said the family was being careful and following COVID guidelines, when in late October Rogelio got sick. Susan thinks he got COVID from a coworker. Rogelio, who had pre-existing conditions, died a few days later.

"I would give my home, I would give my car, I would give any money I have in the bank to have my husband back by my side. I want people to understand that COVID is real."

Arizona Thursday reported a record-high number of hospitalizations and 7-day case and death averages.

"We need to be loving on each other as a country, as a state. Instead of being so selfish just do what we need to do to get these numbers down," said Susan.

Susan hopes other families don't have to suffer the way they have, and she's determined to keep doing her part to help stop the spread.

"I could say, forget about it, I did everything right, and look where it got me. But no, I still mask up, I still disinfect, I still social distance."

Susan and her kids recently moved to California to be closer to family.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for the family.