By CBSLA Staff

SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) — One member of a San Bernardino family hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic spoke out Friday in hopes that their story will help people take latest surge more seriously.

Marisa Millan said her father, Joe, died at Kaiser in Fontana after being on a ventilator for 18 days. (Family photo)

“I don’t want to see any other families going through what we’re going through,” Marisa Millan, a mother of five, said. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.”

Millan fought back tears as she described the devastating toll the pandemic has taken on her family.

“This virus is just a monster,” she said.

Millan said 10 people in the household contracted COVID-19 — including Millan, her mother, her father, her five sons, her husband and daughter-in-law. She said she believes the virus was brought into the home by a family member who started feeling sick shortly after returning from work.

“It’s so contagious, this virus,” she said. “It just spread like wildfire throughout our house. We tried to quarantine. We have three bathrooms, we tried to separate everybody. It just, it was impossible.”

And on Friday, with just one week to go until Christmas, the family lost its patriarch. Millan said her father, Joe, died at Kaiser in Fontana after being on a ventilator for 18 days.

“I gave him a hug, and I kissed him, and I told him I loved him,” she said. “The next thing I know, the doctor’s calling me at 11 p.m. at night telling me that they had to put my dad on a ventilator. I never got to talk to him again, or see him.”

Millan’s mom, Esther, was also hospitalized after contracting the virus. And though she recovered from COVID-19, she was not able to say goodbye to her best friend and husband of 41 years — a man she described as one of faith and a proud Marine veteran.

“I just can’t accept that he died alone,” she said. “I think that’s so cruel.”

Millan said she and her family always wore face coverings and kept their distance from those they did not live with in accordance with public health recommendations, but it was not enough to keep the deadly virus out of their home.

“It’s frustrating, because I see people on my Facebook, and they’re gathering and doing things,” she said. “And it’s like, ‘You guys, I just lost my dad over here, you know, and I’d hate to see that happen to your family.'”