LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across California, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia is opening up about his mother and stepfather, who are both on ventilators battling COVID-19.

“It’s important to know this can happen to anybody,” he said.

While both of them are currently stable, Garcia says he’s sharing his family’s struggle in hopes that it will encourage Californians to take the virus seriously. 

While both of them are currently stable, Garcia says he’s sharing his family’s struggle in hopes that it will encourage Californians to take the virus seriously.

His mother has worked healthcare for 25 years.

“We’re not aware exactly where or how she got COVID yet,” Garcia said. “She’s very careful as a healthcare worker, but as we know it can happen in so many different ways.”

Garcia said does believe the recent demonstrations sparked by George Floyd’s death at the hands of police may be a contributing factor in the rise in cases across California, but he points to lower numbers in Minnesota, where the protests originated, and New York, where cases seem to have stabilized, despite demonstrations there as well.

“There are many states that are seeing huge spikes where there weren’t really a lot of demonstrations,” he said. “You look at Florida…”

Regardless, Garcia says what is clear is that masks, physical distancing, and repeated hand washing can spare your family the heartache.

“One of the hardest parts people need to realize is that you can’t be at the hospital,” he said. “You can’t be beside by your family members or your parents. That is the absolutely worst part in all of this.”