First Penn State student dies from COVID-19

Penn State's Old Main administrative building. (Min Xian/WPSU)

Penn State's Old Main administrative building. (Min Xian/WPSU)

This story originally appeared on WPSU.

A Penn State student has died from respiratory failure due to COVID-19.

Penn State said in a press release that it learned of the Tuesday death of 21-year-old Juan Garcia, a student in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, through friends and family. He is the first known Penn State student to die from coronavirus.

Garcia was living off campus in State College when he began to feel ill. He traveled to his home in Allentown on June 19, then was tested for COVID-19 the next day. Garcia died 10 days later.

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Damon Sims, Penn State’s Vice President for Student Affairs, said he was saddened to learn about Garcia’s death. He said it is a reminder that COVID-19 can affect anyone.

“I know our entire campus community sends our deepest condolences to his family and friends as they grieve this unthinkable loss,” Sims said. “It is a poignant reminder that no one among us is immune to the worst consequences of this virus.”

The press release did not say whether Garcia had preexisting conditions or how he contracted the virus.

Penn State is in the process of contact tracing to see who was in close contact with Garcia while he was contagious. The university is urging individuals who were in contact with Garcia to call the University Health Services 24/7 Advice Nurse hotline.

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