REDLANDS (CBSLA) — Customers Tuesday had set flowers out in front of Cheliz Restaurant in Redlands where the chairs have been stacked on tables and the doors locked since the Fourth of July when owner Letty Silverio closed her doors after contracting the novel coronavirus.

Letty Silverio died after being hospitalized with COVID-19 and developing a secondary infection her body could not fight. (Credit: Silverio Family)

“What it looks like for an immigrant to come to the U.S. and to pursue that American Dream, my sister and her family is the perfect imagery for that,” Ignacio Silverio, Letty’s younger brother, said.

Silverio said his sister and her husband worked 16-hour days to make their small business successful. Their dream was to give their three children a college education.

“It’s amazing, and really inspiring,” Silverio said.

So it was not surprising when the energetic 40-year-old did not let her diagnosis slow her down.

“So, her whole family gets sick, and she’s able to nurse them back to health,” Silverio said. “And she’s doing well, and everyone, they’re starting to feel better.”

But toward the end of the family’s quarantine, Letty developed pain in her throat. She was hospitalized and immediately intubated for 10 days. During her hospitalization, she developed a secondary infection that her body was not able to fight.

“We were still praying for that miracle to take place, and we said, ‘Amen,'” Silverio said. “And about 10 minutes later, we get the phone call that she had passed.”

Silverio said he could not let his sister’s death be in vain, which is why he was sharing her story in hopes of serving as a wake-up call that people should do what they can to minimize their risk.

“Because those numbers that we see, are human beings like my sister,” he said. “They are moms, they are dads.”

Silverio is also a pastor and said he would be officiating his sister’s funeral.

“But I don’t want to bury another one of my family members,” he said. “I shouldn’t have to.”

A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family cover costs associated with Letty’s hospital stay, funeral costs as well as restaurant bills and housing expenses.

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