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July 03, 2020

Penn State student, 21, dies of COVID-19 complications

Allentown resident among the youngest victims in Pennsylvania

Deaths COVID-19
Penn State coronavirus death Patrick Mansell/Pennsylvania State University

Juan Garcia, 21, of Allentown, is the first known Pennsylvania State University student to die of COVID-19.

Juan Garcia, a 21-year-old Allentown man, has become the first known Penn State University student to die from coronavirus complications. 

Garcia, a student in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, died Tuesday of respiratory failure and COVID-19, the university announced Thursday. 

MORE: The U.S. isn't in a second wave of coronavirus – the first wave never ended

Garcia was living off campus in State College when he first fell ill. He traveled home on June 19 and was tested for the disease the following day. 

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

His family and friends have set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for funeral costs. 

"He was an amazing son, big brother and friend to all!" the page reads. "His memory will forever live within our hearts. Let's remember the incredible young man he was on this earth."

Garcia is among the youngest people – if not the youngest – to die of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has suppressed statistics in age demographics that do not have at least five deaths. The first age range with at least five deaths is 25-29, according to the latest weekly report. 

Adults ages 20-29 have the third-highest incidence rate of coronavirus cases in the state. As of Friday, there were more than 12,700 reported cases. 

Penn State officials are reaching out to people who came in close contact with Garcia while he was contagious. Anyone who may have had contact with Garcia is urged to call University Health Services at (814) 863-4463. 

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