MONTEREY PARK (CBSLA) — Healthcare workers in Monterey Park held a moment of silence Tuesday night at a vigil for their fallen colleagues — five medical professionals who all worked at AHMC hospitals in the San Gabriel Valley and all lost their battles with COVID-19.

“It scares me,” said critical care technician Tony Ramirez, who works at Garfield Medical Center.

He lost three of his co-workers: radiology technician Da-wei Liang, cardiology technician Thong Nguyen, and unit secretary Alex Palomo.

Their colleagues shared special memories about each of them. Liang was a husband and father. Nguyen immigrated from Vietnam with his three young daughters to offer them a better life. Palomo made every patient feel safe and cared for during their stay at Garfield Medical Center.

Those at the vigil also honored the lives of two more AHMC medical professionals who died from coronavirus-related complications: Imelda Sudlra, a secretary at Greater El Monte Community Hospital, and Maria Sigala, a nursing assistant at Monterey Park Hospital.

Even after these five deaths, Ramirez and his co-workers said they are still struggling to secure proper PPE.

Ramirez said there is often a wait time to sign out new PPE.

“It takes time. Maybe two, three, five minutes, and that’s someone’s life,” he said.

There is also an issue with how N95 respirators are decontaminated for reuse.

“Sometimes they come back with dirt and debris…we don’t even know if they’ve actually been cleaned,” Ramirez said.

AHMC has not responded to CBSLA’s request for comment.

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