The tragedy started when 39-year-old Gerry Rangel died from COVID-19 the day after Christmas. That was followed by the death of 69-year-old Luis Rangel three days later, and then 58-year-old Alma Rangel lost her battle to the virus the following month.
Family member Karla Rangel says the family is just trying to get by, but feels defeated.
Karla says the family followed all COVID-safely protocols, including only communicating with each other by video chat, Zoom or phone calls.
"We thought what we were doing was best for our family, to be able to be with each other for the long-run," she said. "Somehow, in three different households, it still got to our family."
GoFundMe set up for devastated SoCal family after sole breadwinner dies from COVID-19
In the case of her cousin Gerry, who was working on his master's degree in psychology, Karla says he kept himself indoors with his family.
She says they even had a family member deliver food to their home to be safe. But the person who delivered the food didn't know they had COVID and was asymptomatic.
Gerry's entire household, including his elderly parents, brother and girlfriend, contracted the virus. All the others recovered, but Gerry succumbed to COVID-19.
Karla can't say for sure if that's how Gerry's household was stricken with the virus, but she suspects it's highly likely.
She added that when Gerry got very sick in December, paramedics were called in but they did not transport him to the hospital because it was "very crowded."
Her cousin Luis was a patient at a nursing home facility, where nearly 10 people tested positive for the coronavirus. He tested negative several times before eventually getting a positive diagnoses and dying with 24 hours.
A depleted medical staff did what they could for her cousin Alma, who also passed away. Karla said she might've had better care had they not been short-staffed.
The family has started a GoFundMe page for Gerry and a GoFundMe page for Luis, who were the breadwinners in their families.