SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin News announced that the state had seen a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 vaccinations administered over the last month. In San Diego County, 75% of the population eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine is now fully vaccinated.
"We have broken now 80% of all eligible Californians having received at least one dose," said Newsom. "As of this week, we're 44% higher in our vaccine doses being administered than we were the week after the Fourth of July holiday weekend; we're seeing progress."
But the work doesn't end there. There is still a large population hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Ruben Huerta and his brother, Alex Huerta, know what it's like to lose a loved one to COVID-19. Their 58-year-old father, also named Ruben Huerta, died on Aug. 28 after being in the ICU for a month at Sharp Memorial due to COVID-19 complications. He leaves behind his two sons, daughter Jasmine and wife Veronica.
"My mother, myself, my brother, my sister, we were vaccinated, we all got vaccinated," said Ruben Huerta, a resident of San Diego County. "My dad really was against it. He said there's a conspiracy thing, it's the government. I tried pleading with my dad like, 'Dad, please, I just need you to trust the process.'"
The brothers praised the doctors and nurses for their consistent efforts to keep their father alive.
"The doctors and the nurses, that were just there for us, they really wanted a miracle to happen for my dad," said Alex Huerta. "They cried and said 'We're so sorry,' and I said, 'Thank you for trying and giving everything you got.'"
They describe their dad as a hardworking man who was always there for his family and friends.
"My dad was just the type of person who left an impact on people by making them feel loved, making them feel seen, making them feel appreciated. He was the best," said Alex Huerta.
"He was just a loving person to anyone he came into contact with," said Ruben Huerta. "He always somehow made it to every event, everything that was important in our lives, whether small or big, he was there."
The family recently took a trip to Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
"We had the best time of our lives," said Alex Huerta.
Shortly after, their father was hospitalized.
While they're now going through the most challenging time of their lives, they hope sharing their story will encourage others to get vaccinated.
"My hope is that more people see this and are touched by the story to see a dad that loved his kids and his life being taken away? I don't want that for anyone's family. If there's a solution out there, get vaccinated, stay healthy, stay safe," said Alex Huerta.
A GoFundMe campaign has been created to help the Huerta family with the funeral and other expenses. If you would like to donate, click here.
This story was originally published by Mimi Elkalla at KGTV.