Two local doctors who died of COVID-19 were still practicing medicine when they got sick, said Nueces County-Corpus Christi Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez.
Dr. Lonnie Schwirtlich and Dr. Marita Rafael knew one of the doctors. Neither doctor's name is being released, in order to give their families privacy.
"He was an excellent physician, always out on the community, always helping at the events," Schwirtlich said. "When it comes out, people are gonna recognize the name: He has been at the functions. He will be sorely missed."
Rafael, the president of the Nueces Co. Medical Society, said the loss is not only a personal one, but a professional one as well, as losing doctors could be catastrophic to the current health system.
"In terms of the medical community, it's a great loss," she said. "This would mean there would be two less doctors to take care of the community."
Hospitals are nearing capacity and local medical professionals are already stretched thin.
"Those who are taking care of them are getting tired," Rafael said. "We don't know whether they will contract the virus, this will bring down the number of those who can take care of patients.”.
Rafael and Schwirtlich both work with COVID-19 patients, and said they are doing their best to stay healthy.
"All of us physicians on the front line are exposed and under a lot of stress," Schwirtlich said. "It's extremely busy, so be understanding when we're rushing around and taking care of you."
They said preventive care such as taking vitamin C or zinc is important to help reduce the chance of getting the virus.