Food Maxx cashier who died of COVID-19 remembered as loving grandmother

On Wednesday, in Santa Clara County, there were 84 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported. It’s the largest number reported in a single day now that testing is readily available. There is also one new death bringing the death toll to 17.

One of the deaths in the county is 65-year-old grandmother Arcelia Martinez, who worked as a cashier at a Food Maxx in San Jose. She was a mother of four daughters and just met her sixth grandchild.

“I know my son is now going to grow up without his grandmother but I do have all my memories I can share with him as he grows older and letting him know how wonderful and caring my mom was,” said Daughter Samantha Martinez.

Arceila Martinez described as the family's rock, a devoted wife, and a hard worker who loved her job as a cashier at Food Maxx.

“She loved her co-workers that she worked with. She was just a really great person,” said Daughter Gina Martinez.

More than year on the job, Martinez’s family said Arcelia took a "staycation" and that’s when she became ill. The family said doctors prescribed her antibiotics possibly for pneumonia. A week later, the symptoms got worse.

“She didn't have the symptoms of COVID-19,” said Gina Martinez. “She just felt fatigued. I know that is one symptom but she didn't have the fever or the sore throat.”

Arcelia Martinez was admitted to O’Connor Hospital on March 14. Four days later, test results came back positive for coronavirus. She died the following Saturday.

“Through the whole seven days my mom was all alone without her family,” said Gina Martinez.

Arceila Martinez was diabetic, insulin dependent. The family has no idea how she contracted COVID-19 but said she was social. They're warning others to keep their distance and said the virus could hit anyone at any time.

“Please just stay in, if it's not essential just stay in,” said Daughter Gina Martinez.

“I wasn’t taking it too serious,” said Samantha Martinez. “I was taking it like a joke like some people out there. We want people to realize how real it is. We totally did not expect it with our family.”

No other family member has tested positive for COVID-19. Food Maxx sent a statement calling Arcelia Martinez, a well-respected and beloved member to the team. The store plans to re-open Thursday at 6 a.m.