Hector Gutierrez

by Robin Kemp

Forest Park City Councilman Héctor Gutierrez recently was hospitalized with COVID-19. He was sick enough to spend several days in ICU. Gutierrez spoke with The Clayton Crescent about what it was like to have COVID-19, the effect it had on his family, and how his experience changed his outlook on life.

“I’m a vet, I went to war, I’ve done a lot of stuff that I feel like that’s tough. But this made me want to quit. Like, quit living.”


Gutierrez also said the city is working on COVID-19 outreach efforts to seniors in Forest Park and to others who may not have Internet access or who need help navigating online registration for testing and vaccination.

Part of the interview is in Spanish, specifically a discussion of how people in Clayton County can get tested for COVID-19. We ask those of you who are able to share this information with the community in other languages to do so.

YouTube video

As of January 31, 17,863 people in Clayton County have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. Of those, 1,790–or 10 percent of Clayton County residents–live in Forest Park. 2,432 people in Clayton County of Hispanic and Latino descent have been hit by COVID-19, accounting for 13.9 percent of the county’s cases. At least 294 Clayton County residents are known to have died of COVID-19.

The Clayton County Health District notes the new, “stickier” mutation of the virus, B.1.1.7, has appeared in Clayton County. However, according to CCHD’s website, Pfizer and Moderna say their vaccines seem to work well against this new version of COVID-19. Health experts stress that people should now wear two masks. Doing this, they say, traps the virus as it leaves your mouth and nose. If the virus can’t spread to other people, they explain, it can’t keep mutating into versions that vaccines might not be able to stop.

To find out where you can get the COVID-19 shot when more vaccine arrives, or to find a place to get tested, visit https://www.claytoncountypublichealth.org/. The Clayton County Health District site is available in multiple languages using the pull-down language menu at the top of the homepage.

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