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How surviving COVID-19 changed an Imperial Valley couple

News 11's Gianella Ghiglino talks to them about their encounter with coronavirus

EL CENTRO, Calif.(KYMA,KECY) - Claudia Vargas and Joe Cortez have been married for 20 years. They've had to overcome a lot together as a couple, but nothing as tough as surviving coronavirus.

In July, Claudia and Joe began experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath and a dry cough. In a matter of days, their symptoms went from bad to worse.

"I was too tired to even breathe, I really thought I was going to die," said Joe Cortez.

Claudia said Joe's symptoms were worse than hers, but he refused to go to the hospital.

"I thought to myself in the hospital they're going to isolate me, and if I'm going to die it's going to be by her side," said Cortez.

Their recovery took two months, Claudia and Joe say they were forever changed by the virus.

Wednesday on the Evening Edition, News 11's Gianella Ghiglino bring us more about Claudia and Joe's journey, and tells us how they're staying safe during the second wave.

Imperial County / Imperial County Coronavirus / Top Stories

Gianella Ghiglino

Peruvian-born and LA raised Gianella Ghiglino joins the team from the San Fernando valley. “LA is the place that taught me how to breath and Peru is my breath.” She says she was inspired by the community she grew up in and began documenting her experience through poetry at the age of 7. “I wrote about everything I saw, felt and everything that inspired me.” When she entered High School she joined her school news station and realized that broadcast journalism allowed her to pursue her passion and her purpose all at once. Gianella attended Cal State Northridge and received a Bachelors degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science. She did several internships while in College but most notably interned for PBS’s local LA station for three years. “My purpose is to share my story and of those in my community, my passion is writing.”

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