Florida health care worker dies of COVID-19 at 29

Her mother said in an interview that she was now caring for her grandchildren but had to quit her job as a housekeeper to do so. That has left the family with only the income of Anadelia’s husband, Richard Diaz, a delivery driver.

“Our world came crashing down,” Anadelia Diaz said. “Now we’re left to raise three children.”

Samantha Diaz, known as Sammy, was the granddaughter of migrant workers from Mexico and among the first in her large extended family who did not grow up picking crops in the fields. Her grandmother, Cleofas Martinez, known as Coca, was a leading organizer among migrant workers in Indiantown in Martin County, according to The Palm Beach Post.

Diaz was born July 19, 1990, in Palm Beach Gardens. She grew up in West Palm Beach and graduated from South Tech Academy, where she studied cosmetology. She later took college courses in health and science and got a job as a medical assistant in a cardiology practice.

“She loved helping people when they were ill,” her mother said. “It was her passion.”

Diaz’s other passions were dancing and music, especially salsa, merengue and Tejano. And she loved her family’s tradition of celebrating life’s milestones — birthdays, anniversaries, holidays — with elaborate cakes.

In addition to her parents and her two small children, she is survived by a teenage son, Ricardo.

Diaz was distraught that Florida had not shut down when the virus began its recent resurgence in June; the state is now coping with one of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. This has made daily life for her family a “nightmare,” her mother said.

“We all walk around with masks and gloves, and we sanitize everything when the babies nap,” she said. “We go through bottles and bottles and bottles of Clorox wipes. We leave everything out for 10 hours for the sun to hit them. We use paper cups and plates and just throw everything away. We’re constantly washing sheets and bedding and airing out the house.”

But the hardest part, she said, has been that the toddlers cry constantly and are inconsolable — not just because they are sick and have lost their mother, but because fear of the virus means that no one picks them up and hugs them.

“We can’t love on them when they cry,” Diaz said.