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'My mom was my best friend': COVID-19 claims Milwaukie mother of four

Loved ones say 46-year-old Carola Montero was kind, generous and devoted to her family. They're warning others about COVID-19 to honor her.

PORTLAND, Oregon — A Milwaukie mother of four passed away on Sunday of COVID-19, her family shared. Carola Montero was 46-years-old.

“I’m heartbroken,” said Montero’s daughter, Catalina Castillo, 21. “I would honestly say my mom was my best friend and I miss her every day.”

Carola leaves behind a husband in addition to her four kids who range in age from 11 to 23-years-old.

“She was just beautiful in every way,” said Carola’s brother, Javier Montero. “Everyone who was lucky enough to meet her was able to find that out.”

Carola spent more than 20 years as a full-time mom, attending field trips, dance competitions and every school activity her kids participated in. About a year ago, she returned to work for the first time since having kids. She took a job at Providence Portland Medical Center on the hospital's Environmental Services team which includes cleaning staff.

“She was really excited about it, everyone at work loved her,” said Carola’s oldest daughter, Constanza Castillo, 23. “She was just very hardworking."

Family said Montero was always cautious regarding COVID-19, especially because she had diabetes.

“If she went out, she always wore a mask,” said Catalina. “She sanitized her hands.”

Despite those precautions, Carola and four other family members contracted COVID-19 around November 20. They're still piecing together how they got it. Everyone except for Carola recovered. On December 1, doctors discovered blood clots in her small intestine which limited blood flow. Carola passed away in her sleep, December 6. Another life lost to the pandemic.

“It's killing people,” said Catalina. “It doesn't matter if you're young or old, middle-aged; it affects everyone.”

In a memo shared with Providence employees, Providence Portland Medical Center’s Chief Executive, Krista Farnham, said a review showed no reason to think this case presents any future risk of a workplace transmission.

Family members hope others will hear their story and take COVID-19 and precautions against it, seriously.

“I think that's the biggest way to honor her memory," said Javier. "To reach out to those who might not think it's a big deal anymore, to make sure they are aware that it's a constant, that it hasn't stopped.”

Carola's family started a GoFundMe account to help with mounting bills.

“My main goal is just to make sure that they're going to be OK without my mom,” said Constanza. Added Catalina, “I would honesty do anything to have her here."

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