SAN ANTONIO — Benito Valle is in a desperate fight for his life. On Friday he was lying in a hospital bed at Baptist Medical Center after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, but he's not the only member of his family that's been targeted by COVID-19. His stepfather is also being treated, while his sister, Brenda, is currently on a ventilator.
Brenda works at the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center—the Alamo City nursing facility at the center of an outbreak where 67 residents and another eight staff members were confirmed to have the virus.
"I am really scared," Benito said. "Because I don't know what is going to happen. Last night, I had to sleep with ice bags all around me to keep the fever down. It is really horrible."
He said his sister is in another hospital, fighting for her life.
"My sister is in the hospital for doing the one thing she loved," he said. "She didn't know that the resident was positive. She thought it was a cold, or a stomach bug or something. When she found out, it was too late for everybody."
Benito said he wishes the nursing home had been more proactive in blunting the virus's impact.
"They should have said something as soon as they found out," he said. "Because now they are changing so many lives."
The 30-year-old said he wouldn't wish the virus on his worst enemy. He's not only worried about his own health, but also those who are taking care of him and his family.
"All the time they come in, they have to suit up and put gloves on and everything to check me," he said. "I feel bad for being in the hospital, because I don't want to be the reason to get them sick."
The Valle Family doesn't know how long they will be hospitalized.
City officials say staff at the nursing home also worked at, at least seven facilities across Bexar County. On Friday evening, Mayor Ron Nirenberg told KENS 5 that number will likely go up.
At these other facilities, they're testing residents and staff who may show symptoms. A new city order prohibits nursing home staff from working in multiple facilities.