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Penn State Student Dies Of Coronavirus-Related Complications

A Penn State student has died as a result of coronavirus-related complications, the university announced Thursday morning.

Juan Garcia, a 21-year-old student enrolled in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, died on June 30 of respiratory failure and coronavirus complications. He is the first known Penn State student to die after contracting the virus.

“We are profoundly saddened to learn about Juan’s untimely death during this pandemic,” Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs, said. “While I did not know Juan personally, we have learned through conversations with those closest to him that this young man had a remarkable spirit and was greatly loved. I know our entire campus community sends our deepest condolences to his family and friends as they grieve this unthinkable loss. It is a poignant reminder that no one among us is immune to the worst consequences of this virus.”

According to the university, Garcia lived off campus in State College earlier this summer and began to feel ill. He traveled home to Allentown, Pa., on June 19 and was tested for the virus on June 20.

Penn State is currently in touch with Garcia’s family and is “offering support.” His family and friends have already established a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses.

“We have lost one of our own. This tragic news brings the coronavirus pandemic much closer to home for all of us at Penn State,” Dr. Robin Oliver-Veronesi, University Health Services senior director, said. “As we mourn the loss of Juan and offer support to his family and friends, I hope we all also will honor his memory by taking every precaution to help slow the spread of the virus and keep ourselves and others safe and healthy. While each of our risk levels are different, this virus has shown that it can have devastating effects on even those who are younger.”

Penn State stated it’s currently employing contact tracing to reach those who may have crossed paths with Garcia while he was contagious. Individuals who believe they may have been in contact with him while ill are encouraged to contact UHS for assistance.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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