Houston mom feels Gov. Abbott is 'picking money over people' in recent COVID-19 safety rules

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston mother is questioning the decision to open the state at 100% and drop the mask mandate after her son died from COVID-19 last month.

Catherine Rodriquez said her son Jonathan Martinez fought the illness for three weeks and waited five days for a bed in ICU.

"Jonathan was a wonderful, wonderful son and I called him my hero," said Rodriguez.

Martinez loved superheroes, but his six children, wife, and mother all said he was a superhero himself.

The 38-year-old worked in management at a Wal-Mart distribution facility and loved his life.

When he caught the virus, his family said he could not find an ICU bed. After trips to an Urgent Care and a rehabilitation facility, he finally found space in an emergency room in Montgomery County.

"He sat in the emergency room for three days because there was no room, no ICU beds," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez told ABC13 she knows the medical professionals did their best, but she also knows they were overwhelmed. The family just got the death certificate and have not had a memorial service for Martinez. Rodriguez said she worries about Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to reopen the state. In a Facebook post, she called the move a "kick in the stomach."

"I wish they would wait the two more months," she said regarding the move to remove most statewide restrictions on March 10. "Get more people vaccinated. I don't see why we can't wait until May. Why do it during Spring break? To me, I feel like you're picking money over people."

She said she hopes people will still wear masks and continue to social distance.

As they work toward a funeral, they have set up a GoFundMe page for those who would like to help with short and long-term expenses.

"My son left six children behind," she said through tears. "Two of the youngest are six and four years old. They don't understand why their daddy isn't coming home. Katrina doesn't have a husband who's going to come home. I lost my son."

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