By CBSLA Staff

FONTANA (CBSLA) — A 27-year-old Fontana woman died from COVID-19, just two weeks after giving birth her third daughter.

Her widower, now raising his three young daughters without his beloved wife, shared their story Thursday in hopes it will prompt people to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously.

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“She loved me for me,” Nicolas Shaw said of his wife, Leslie. “It didn’t matter if I was broke or rich or bald or nothing.”

Leslie was admitted into a local hospital last month after doctors discovered she had tested positive for COVID-19. She died nearly two weeks after delivering her youngest daughter via caesarean section.

Dr. Courtney Martin, the director of Maternity Services at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, said doctors have seen a rise in mortality related to COVID-positive pregnancies.

“It appears that it may be coming close to H1N1 and, potentially, could surpass those maternal mortalities we saw that year in 2010, which is frightening,” she said.

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Shaw, who was not treated at Loma Linda, was a University of California Riverside graduate and a popular dance teacher who wanted to inspire kids. When the pandemic hit, she switched to virtual classes.

Shaw’s family said they were not sure how she contracted the virus, but doctors said they have seen a disproportionate number of cases among the Latinx community, including those who are pregnant, and urged those in high-risk categories to seek medical care.

“Do not be scared of going to the hospital or the long waits,” Martin said. “Pregnant women are at risk.”

Leslie never got to meet her youngest daughter, who was delivered while she was in a medically-induced coma, but Shaw said he was going to do what he could to make sure all three girls grow up knowing their mom.

“My girls can do whatever they want,” he said. “I’m not going to tell them no, because I couldn’t tell my wife no. She did anything she wanted. I hope that they learn that from her. I hope I can teach that to them.”

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A local school administrator has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help support Shaw and his daughters.