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Arizona family in mourning after healthcare worker dies from COVID-19

A Valley family is grieving the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19.

The woman, Brenda Cancinos, was a 34-year-old healthcare worker who loved her job. Her family says she passed away after a six-month-long battle with the virus.

"I miss her talking to me, yelling at me," said JR Cancinos. "Just her hugs and everything man."

For JR, Brenda will always be his big sister, and ever since Brenda began her COVID-19 battle, he has not been able to speak to her.

JR says about two weeks after Brenda tested positive for COVID-19, her oxygen level dropped dramatically.

"We needed to get her into the hospital, and that is the last time we really saw her, and from there, it just got really bad," said JR.

It was a struggle to watch the 34-year-old get hooked up to oxygen machines. JR says Brenda worked as a phlebotomist for ValleyWise before getting infected. She loved working in the healthcare field, and just a week ago, Brenda's family thought she showed positive signs as she held a phone up to FaceTime.

"Having the little bit of extra strength to kind of smile and giggle a little bit gave us a lot of hope, because we hadn't seen her do that for months," said JR.

However, JR says his sister still couldn't speak due to lung damage.

Brenda died on Jan. 18.

"A great mother, great sister, great wife, great daughter all around," said JR. "She was just amazing."

Out of nearly 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona, about 45% fall in the age range of 20 to 44. 523 of them have died.

"This virus is unforgivable," said JR. "It doesn't pick on anybody. It doesn't have an age group. It doesn't have an ethnicity group. It doesn't care."

(Click here for GoFundMe)

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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19


https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19


https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/es/covid-19/index.php#novel-coronavirus-home (In Spanish/En Español)