North Texas Woman Reflects on First Father's Day Without Her Dad

Ana Lara's father died from COVID-19 in May and, as hospitalizations rise in Dallas County, she hopes people stay vigilant

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Instead of spending the day with her father, Ana Lara recounted memories of her dad.

"He was a great dad. He really looked out for us, he was always really attentive of us," Lara said. "He had a great sense of humor, he enjoyed playing the guitar, he enjoyed music."

Jose Jesus Lara Canedo, 62, died in the hospital from COVID-19 in May. He had diabetes and initially, his family thought that's why he was ill, but he also tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We miss him, we wish he was here," Lara said. “He was just very sincere, he was just a really good man, a good father.”

Lara said she last spoke with her dad on the day that he died.

“I spoke to him early that day and he was telling me that he was feeling very weak and he was having a lot of trouble breathing that day. He told me he wanted to rest, he felt very tired."

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She said doctors warned them that her father's outlook wasn't good.

Lara, her mother and sister also had the coronavirus, but have recently tested negative.

With hospitalizations on the rise in Dallas County, along with ER visits for those with COVID-19 symptoms, Lara said she hoped people continue to take the illness seriously.

Saturday, there were 454 people in Dallas County either hospitalized or in an acute care setting with COVID-19, an increase of 30 from Friday, and a new record high, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Emergency room visits Friday due to the new coronavirus represented 27% of all ER visits, according to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.

County health officials said almost half of all COVID-19 cases reported since June 1 are in people between 18 and 39 years old.

“Much more aware of how short life is and appreciate it more," said Chris Phipps, whose 93-year-old father was diagnosed with the disease last month.

Phipps said his dad, Charles, was hospitalized for COVID-19, but was recovering and was sent home less than a month ago.

"He's walking every day, doing better, it's amazing," Phipps said.

He said this Father's Day had a new meaning for their family.

“You start to appreciate how short and fragile life is," Phipps said.

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