Penn State student, 21, dies of coronavirus-related complications

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

A 21-year-old Penn State student has died of coronavirus-related complications just 10 days after he was tested for the virus, the University announced on Thursday.

Juan Garcia, a student at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences student, died on Tuesday from respiratory failure and COVID-19, according to a release.

Garcia was reportedly living off-campus when he began feeling ill. He returned to his home in Allentown on June 19 and was tested for coronavirus the following day.

His death is the first known Penn State student death related to the coronavirus.​


“We are profoundly saddened to learn about Juan’s untimely death during this pandemic,” Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said. 

He added: “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.”​

Penn State is in touch with Garcia's family and offering their support. The family has established a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of funeral expenses.

The University is in the process of contact tracing to reach those who may have been in close contact with Garcia while he was contagious. Individuals who believe they may have been in contact with Garcia are urged to call the University Health Services 24/7 Advice Nurse at 814-863-4463.​

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Meanwhile, Penn State is urging anyone who feels ill with COVID-19 symptoms to immediately call a health care provider and begin to self-isolate. Students with symptoms and those who test positive for COVID-19 should contact UHS or their campus nurse to assist with any self-care needs and to aid with contact tracing efforts.


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