By Siafa Lewis

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local teenager is being remembered after she lost her battle with COVID-19. Seventeen-year-old Alayna Thach was a high school senior.

Twenty-one months into this pandemic, with COVID-19 cases once again on the rise, we’re served a stark reminder of just how unforgiving, relentless and heartbreaking this virus has been, continues to and will be for countless Americans.

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Alayna was a senior at Olney Charter High School. She was set to graduate in June, with career aspirations of becoming a life coach.

Alayna died this past Monday after a bout with COVID-19 that saw the virus cause her lungs and heart to collapse, causing severe brain damage.

“It was just a mild case. I was actually there on Friday dropping some stuff off with my mom. We dropped her off some care packages with meds and soups and snacks and stuff for her and her siblings and her parents. But she was fine. She was, like, alert. She was communicating with me with no clear respiratory issues and she was walking around,” said Hien Yem, the victim’s aunt.

Alayna’s aunt spoke to CBS3 on behalf of her sister, Alayna’s grief-stricken mother.

Hien said that Alayna, her two younger siblings and both their parents — all five in their immediate family — had contracted COVID and were quarantining.

Here’s the last thing she told Alayna when she saw her last Friday.

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“Take care of herself and her siblings, and of course, her parents if she can. And for her to lock up,” Hien said.

Yem held it together for our conversation, but like her sister, she’s also devastated by her niece’s premature passing.

“Alayna is such a bright young lady. She is loved by everyone that comes into contact with her, speaking about her peers, her teachers, adults. Everyone who has reached out to me — it’s just a persistent trend. The most caring child ever. Her mom doesn’t even have to ask her to do things for her siblings and she’ll just take the initiative. Very, very wonderful kid,” Hien said.

She had this to say when asked what she’d tell Alayna if she could right now.

“Alayna, I love you so much, baby,” Hien said.

Hien’s message to all is that vaccines help and they work. Both of Alayna’s parents were vaccinated. Alayna was scheduled to get vaccinated in January.

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On Friday afternoon, Olney Charter High School will hold a memorial service for Alayna at 3:45 p.m.