The 40-year-old father, Christian Cabrera, contracted COVID-19 shortly after the Christmas holiday and was rushed to the emergency room last week when he began struggling to breathe.
Cabrera is not vaccinated and his condition has only gotten worse, with pneumonia in both lungs.
“He keeps saying, ‘please keep [taking] care of my son,'” his brother, Jino Cabrera told Nexstar’s KTLA. “He knows he might not make it. He might die in there.”
Christian Cabrera’s lungs are now weak, making it difficult for him to speak. But he was able to send his brother a text message from his hospital bed in Sherman Oaks late Thursday.
“I can’t breathe again,” the message read. “I really regret not getting my vaccine, if I can do it all over again I would do it in a heartbeat to save my life. I’m fighting for my life here and I wish I have gotten vaccinated.”
In Los Angeles County, unvaccinated people have been six times more likely to be admitted to the ICU compared to those fully vaccinated without boosters, according to data from Dec. 30 to Jan. 12.
Meanwhile, those who were both vaccinated and boosted are 25 times less likely to end up in the ICU than unvaccinated people, according to the county health department.
“If you are fighting an enemy that is relentless, I think it’s vitally important to give your body every chance possible to get better because that’s what getting yourself vaccinated and boosted will do,” said Dr. Thomas Yadegar, medical director of the ICU at Providence Cedars Sinai Tarzana Medical Center.
Yadegar’s hospital, like many others throughout the region, is seeing more COVID-19 patients flood into the ICU.
“Our hospital and our ICU and ER are like war zones, much like last winter we are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients,” Yadegar said.
The increasing hospitalizations come after L.A. County began seeing record-breaking infection numbers as the highly-contagious omicron variant spread across the state.
On Thursday, L.A. County confirmed 102 new COVID-19 deaths — the highest number reported in a single day since March last year.
About 90% of those deaths were among residents who became ill with COVID-19 after Dec. 24, officials said.
Countywide, COVID-19 patients account for about 30% of those in the county’s intensive care units.
“Let’s not fool ourselves by not recognizing the danger presented by the Omicron variant which is capable of spreading with lightning speed and causing serious illness among our most vulnerable residents,” L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Tuesday.