Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood is 80% Latino and has one of the highest rates of positive coronavirus cases in the city. Across the US, states reporting racial data show overwhelmingly high rates of infection within the Latino population. (May 20) AP Domestic
The family of Martha Carbajal has leaned on their faith as the 60-year-old battled the novel coronavirus, spending two weeks on a ventilator at York Hospital, this spring.
She’s now recuperating at home with her family in New Oxford and getting stronger every day, her daughter, Jannie Abanto said.
Carbajal was the 100th COVID-19 patient to recover and be released from York Hospital earlier this month.
The virus hit the family hard. While Carbajal survived, her mother, Faviola Torres, who lived in Peru, died last week. She, too, had fallen ill with what the family believes was COVID-19.
“When you see it on the news — it’s not that you don’t care — but you don’t pay much attention until it happens to someone you love,” said Jannie Abanto, Carbajal’s daughter.
She believes God still has plans for her mother. It could be helping others, because she enjoys that.
Never lost faith
Carbajal works as a packer at a factory in Hanover and is the only bilingual employee in her area. A new co-worker, who only spoke Spanish, would talk to her and ask her for help.
He told the boss one day in April that he felt bad and needed to go to the doctor, Carbajal said. The next day, the boss informed them that the worker had tested positive for the virus.
Abanto said the family was a little scared after hearing the news, but her mother has always been healthy. They reassured her that she would be OK.
Within a couple of days, though, Carbajal wasn’t feeling well herself. She had a severe headache and a high fever. She kept wanting to take more medicine, but loved ones told her she couldn’t.
Her doctor advised her to get tested for the coronavirus, so they traveled to the testing site at the York fairgrounds. It came back positive.
A day later, Carbajal ended up in the emergency room at Gettysburg Hospital, where she was admitted to be treated for her high fever and low oxygen levels.
At first, her mother was still responsive, Abanto said. They continued to talk through video calls, but Carbajal’s condition grew worse, and eventually, she stopped answering her phone.
Carbajal was flown by helicopter to York Hospital. She spent two weeks on a ventilator and underwent a tracheostomy to help her fight the virus.
Carbajal said she doesn’t remember much about her time there, but her daughter called the hospital every few hours to check on her. Abanto said she and her family continued to do calls with her mother, praying for her and singing to her.
“I was telling this doctors and the nurses she was going to make it. I never lost my faith that God was actually healing my mom,” Abanto said.
Abanto remembers walking into her mother’s hospital room on June 4 to pick her up. She told her mom that she loved her, gave her a hug and cried.
It was a mix of emotions. At that point, Abanto’s grandmother wasn’t doing well.
“I was so happy, like, half of my heart was so happy to see my mom and then the other half was in Peru with my grandma,” Abanto said. “… it’s just so heartbreaking.”
She gave a shout out to doctors and nurses who treated her mother and thanked everyone who prayed for her mom.
Abanto said she isn’t sure when or if her mother will return to work. Right now, she is concentrating on healing and gaining back the weight she lost. She is undergoing therapy and has a lung check scheduled in July.
Carbajal said God is “most important in my life,” and she is looking forward to talking with others about her faith and her experience.
Abanto said they want others to know that “if you don’t lose faith, if you trust God, there’s going to be healing.”
COVID-19 recovery patients
Other hospitals in the central Pennsylvania region recently shared the number of COVID-19 patients who have recovered and were discharged.
As of June 10, 31 patients were discharged from UPMC Memorial and UPMC Hanover, spokeswoman Kelly McCall said.
For WellSpan hospitals, the numbers are as follows:
- Chambersburg Hospital: 102
- Ephrata Community Hospital: 45
- Gettysburg Hospital: 23
- Good Samaritan Hospital: 73
- Waynesboro Hospital: 9
- York Hospital: 101
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