Local woman issues dire travel warning after mom hospitalized with COVID-19


SAN DIEGO – As ICU capacities struggle, a local woman is sharing how her mother is fighting to breathe at an area hospital.

San Diego woman Elly Kho, right, is issuing a dire warning about traveling during the pandemic after her mother Shahnaz Mahager, left, landed in the hospital with COVID-19 following a trip they took together to Mexico. (Provided)

Elly Kho and her mother, Shahnaz Mahager, recently traveled to Mexico. Now Mahager is on forced oxygen at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, one of a number of COVID-19 patients being treated there — and currently at risk of landing in the ICU.

Fighting back tears, Kho said she regrets taking the trip.

“To see her like this, it’s not worth it,” Kho said. “It just wasn’t worth it for her, you know?”

Doctors at Scripps are giving her mother oxygen to help her breath, Kho said. While she noted they can’t say for sure if she contracted the virus in Mexico, Kho said it’s highly likely she did.

“I had people advising against (the trip),” she said. “My brother and sister saying, ‘Are you sure you should take your mom?’ Of course, we’re thinking, ‘Well, it only affects people that are (in their) 70s and 80s.'”

They quickly found out that the virus impacts plenty of others, too. A few days after the trip, Kho rushed Mahager to the hospital after her mother couldn’t breathe. There, Mahager found out that she’d contracted COVID-19.

“It’s just been so draining and so scary to have underestimated how vicious this really is,” Kho said.

Luckily, Kho tested negative for the virus. She is keeping herself connected with her mother via FaceTime.

“I was that person that ‘Oh, maybe it’s political’ and ‘Oh, it only affects the really elderly,'” she said, adding, “We all have to be taking this so much more seriously — really, it is seriously. And I was the last person to take it seriously.”

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