Family and friends mourn 30-year-old Odessa woman who died of the coronavirus

Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 9:12 PM CDT
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A woman died in Ector County on Sunday due to complications caused by the coronavirus.

CBS7 spoke with that Jess Fajardo’s family and closest friend about how this woman was taken far too soon, dying at only 30 years old.

Maria Hernandez said she and her best friend Jess have been inseparable since the two could walk.

“There would be times where I came over so much my mom was like ‘You need to go to her house, just go,’” Hernandez said with a laugh.

But now, almost 30 years later, that unbreakable friendship has come to an end.

“If we couldn’t hang out, we were talking several times a day,” she said. “And now not being able to have that is hard.”

Her death came as a shock to the whole family.

Her cousin, Abbey Guerra, said when she tested positive for the coronavirus, they thought it was just a matter of time before she walked back out of those hospital doors.

“The doctors kept saying you’re young, and you’re healthy; you’ll get through it. Y’know, we really weren’t expecting it.”

For a while, it looked like she was beating the virus.

“She just kept getting better and better,” Guerra said. “Her x-rays showed her lungs kept getting clearer and clearer every day. And so, I said good she’s going to kick this. We knew she was.”

But not long after her fever faded away, Jess told her family it kept getting harder to breathe as if she were underwater.

Doctors had her on a ventilator for more than a week until they felt she was stable.

“When they took the tubes out, her chest, her esophagus was swollen, so it shut on her, and she couldn’t breathe,” Guerra explained. “So, whenever they went back in, to put the tubes back in, to hook her back up to the oxygen, her chest locked up and she had a heart attack.”

“As soon as I called her, she answered I could hear her crying, and I just knew, and I immediately burst into tears,” Hernandez said.

One of the last times Hernandez heard the voice was on her birthday, one day before Jess was intubated.

“And even though she couldn’t breathe,” she said. “She was coughing so hard, she still found the time and the energy to send me, she sang happy birthday to me.”

The closest thing she has to a goodbye.

“Tell anybody, everybody, you love them and talk to them like you’re going to lose them tomorrow,” Hernandez said. “Cause this is the worst.”

Jess’ mother said she was too emotional to speak on camera today.

But she wanted everyone to know her daughter was an amazing woman who cared deeply for everyone around her.