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Financial hardships follow Central Texas family after loved one dies of COVID-19

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 6:03 PM CDT
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BELL COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) - A Killeen-area family’s mourning has turned into financial worry after the loss of a loved one from COVID-19.

April Overland’s stepfather, Joe Lozano, died from the virus on Sept. 28 at the age of 42. He was a retired veteran and area massage therapist.

Overland’s mother, Kathy Lozano, also caught the virus but has recovered and now faces many health issues.

“She already lost her husband,” Overland said. “I don’t want her to lose the last piece of stability she has.”

Joe Lozano was in the hospital for nearly a month, following his diagnosis in early September. Kathy Lozano had to wait nearly 18 hours before a hospital room opened up.

But Joe Lozano’s condition was much worse and he was admitted quicker.

“We found this out after (his death), they knew for three days that he needed to be in the ICU,” Overland said. “But there were no beds available, there was no place to put him.”

Now, Overland’s focus is on her mother who can hardly get around the house and uses an oxygen tank. Kathy Lozano has even taken a break from her online boutique, LuLa Roe, because she cannot make it to her desk anymore.

“I’m weak to the point to where it’s hard for me to open up a can, a can of my diet soda that I drink,” Kathy Lozano, said in a Facebook video.

A break from her business also means a loss of income on top of her grieving.

“She can’t cry,” Overland said. “Because if she cries, it interferes with her breathing.”

Other online retailers similar to Kathy Lozano’s are stepping in to help raise funds. Overland has even set up a GoFundMe.

For the time being, to set aside some worry, Overland sometimes takes a look back at the family group chat. Those were the last times she could get responses from Joe Lozano.

“He had all the same vaccines that every other army vet here has had, and he still got it and COVID still got him,” Overland said. “Get the vaccine, get it.”

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