PHOENIX — Karla Madrigal had been saving for her daughter’s quinceañera for years. She’s now postponed it twice because of the coronavirus. The second time Madrigal postponed the rite of passage was after multiple family members got sick.
“We’ve canceled in April when the state closed. We’ve rescheduled for July, but now Arizona is doing worse and our family has been infected,” said Karla Madrigal.
Coronavirus cases are spiking in Arizona with overall known cases topping 63,000 as of Thursday.
The Latino community has been especially hard hit. Of Arizona’s hardest-hit zip codes, the mean percentage of Hispanic residents is 75%.
Madrigal hopes sharing her story can help to alert the Latino community.
“Who do you invite to those events? You invite people you love,” said Madrigal.
She says canceling the quinceañera wasn’t easy, but she says she refuses to put her loved ones at risk. “It’s better to have them stay home, safe and healthy,” stated Madrigal.
She says her priority changed when her husband notified her he had tested positive for COVID-19. “We immediately called every family member we had contact with so they could get tested,” added Madrigal.
A total of seven relatives tested positive for COVID-19, almost the entire quinceañera court of honor, just days before the big celebration.
“I don’t know if the epicenter was here in my home or somewhere else,” said Madrigal.
The decision came after they had already had some rehearsals, visited family and friends, so she says they no longer want to take any chances.
“We’re postponing the party until next year. A party is not more important than saving people’s lives,” stated Madrigal.
Her family has now been quarantined for 14 days, and Madrigal says she wants other Latino families to learn from their pain, “This is real, it’s us, we have to be more responsible.”
“Even just visiting your mom can bring terrible consequence. Anybody can be a carrier of the virus. We need to start wearing masks, gloves and keep social distancing to prevent the spread,” said Madrigal.
While Madrigal says it’s been difficult staying away from family and from attending gatherings, she says it’s important to help stop the spread of the virus, “Our community continues having 'carne asadas,' barbecues every weekend in large groups, it’s part of the culture, but we have to lead by example, for our children.”
The quinceañera’s father is doing better. Madrigal says their daughter understands her special celebration will happen one day once everyone is healthy and can hug and kiss without the fear of spreading disease.