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After parents die of COVID within days of one another, daughter has somber plea

Maria Burciaga de Manquera and Jose Manquera both recently died of COVID-19 complications just about 10 days apart from one another.

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A woman in New Mexico is pleading with the community to take the coronavirus seriously after she lost both of her parents to COVID-19.

Maritza Serna said she's still in shock that her mom Maria Burciaga de Manquera, 67, and step-dad Jose Manquera, 69, both recently died of COVID-19 complications just about 10 days apart from one another.

"I do personally feel angry, because it just sucks they were like the sweetest people, and it sucks that they went out of their way to help others and everything and this is how they got taken away," Serna said. "They loved each other very much."

Serna told sister station KOAT the two were an energetic couple who made the most of every moment.

"They loved dancing, like any time they had music, you'd see them get up and start dancing," Serna said.

In October, Jose Manquera was hospitalized after experiencing COVID-related symptoms. Things began to look better when he was discharged. But two days later, he was in the intensive care unit. Serna gave her goodbyes to her step-dad on an iPad. Her mother died on Oct. 28.

"(Jose) was crying the whole time, the whole conversation, it just broke my heart," Serna said.

The day Manquera died, Burciage de Manquera was put on a ventilator.

"She couldn't say anything because she was sedated," Serna said. "But yeah, we said our goodbyes. We said thank you for everything. We told her we loved her."

When Burciage de Manquera died on Nov. 7, she didn't know her husband had already died.

"It was recommended not to tell her that he had passed because she was going good and they didn't want her to go down," she said.

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Serna said they're not sure how the couple got the virus. The week prior, the couple had only gone to the dentist's office and to get their flu shots. Serna hopes her parents' story will urge New Mexicans to take this virus seriously.

"I don't want another person like me to lose their parents, because everyone is being irresponsible and not doing what they should be doing," said Serna.

Currently the family is planning burial services, but they're worried about how they going to cover the medical bills and funeral expenses. To help, they've set up a GoFundMe account.