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19-year-old who wanted to be a nurse may be El Paso’s youngest virus fatality

Dariana Rubio
Rubio family
Dariana Rubio, who may be El Paso's youngest Covid-19 victim.

EL PASO, Texas -- An El Paso family is waiting for their 19-year-old daughter’s Covid-19 test results while making her funeral arrangements. 

Dariana Rubio was having trouble breathing Monday afternoon, after multiple days experiencing cold-like symptoms. 

“It started off kind of like a cold,” Maria Rubio, Dariana’s mother, said in Spanish. “One day she was feeling fine, the next day she would feel a little sick, then the next day she felt fine, then the next she would feel sick until Monday when she woke up saying she was short of breath.”  

That’s when Maria said they called for an ambulance to take their daughter to the emergency room. 

“Well, I felt awful and I was crying for her, but she kept telling me, ‘Mamá don’t cry, don’t cry.’ She didn’t want to see me cry but I was emotional seeing her so sick,” Maria told El Paso Matters. 

Maria said her daughter was alert and conscious when the ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital, but her condition rapidly worsened.

“Her heart had stopped halfway there. It happened so fast, so very fast,” Maria said. 

Maria said doctors informed her that Dariana had suffered Cvoid-19 complications due to her asthma. She said her daughter was tested for Covid-19 on July 8 after an acquaintance tested positive, but the test results have not come back. If her results are positive, Dariana would be the youngest person to die of Covid-19 in El Paso. 

Dariana was diagnosed with asthma when she was 8 months old. Due to her respiratory illness, Maria said her daughter had been extra careful to avoid exposure to the potentially deadly coronavirus. 

“She was very cautious. She would even get upset with me or with her sister because she would say we weren’t taking care of ourselves to the extent that she was,” Maria said.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, people with moderate to severe asthma may be at a higher risk for severe illness from Covid-19. Deaths due to asthma alone are rare, especially among children and young adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

El Paso city spokeswoman Laura Cruz-Acosta said deaths found to involve complications of Covid-19 are classified as deaths due to the novel coronavirus. It often takes weeks of investigation for the city to classify a death as Covid related. 

El Paso has reported 211 Covid-19 deaths as of Thursday. The youngest confirmed Covid-19 death in El Paso was a woman in her 20s.

Dariana graduated in 2019 from Canutillo High School, where she played on the softball team. Maria said her daughter had dreams of becoming a nurse. She said she’s sharing her daughter’s story to make young adults more aware of what is happening. 

“Many times young people think it won’t happen to them simply because they are young and they think they have their whole lives ahead of them. Yes, they have a whole life ahead of them but they need to take care of themselves, protect themselves,” Maria said. 

Angel Gomez, co-founder of Operation HOPE, has been helping families like the Rubios during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“This is the 140th family that we help with funeral arrangements due to the Covid,” Gomez said. “When they call me and say we only came up with $900 or $1,000 or whatever, then we step up.”

Gomez said he spoke with funeral homes in February to set up a rate that would help Covid-19 impacted families.  

“It’s getting worrisome and it’s getting sad because we were doing 80, 70 year olds, 75 year olds, 60s, now we’re getting young people 31, 42, 19,” Gomez said. 

Dariana is survived by her mother and father and a 17-year-old sister. 

Coronavirus / El Paso / News / Top Stories

El Paso Matters - Bob Moore

El Paso Matters is a member-supported nonpartisan media organization that uses journalism to expand civic capacity in our region.



      1. Why can’t you give intelligent responses to posts on this blog? What is a PO and why should I check one? Why would you disrespect this young lady who lost her life? Are you just complete trash?

        1. Parole Officer you idiot. I’m not disrespecting her. You are by making a comment about her. I’m disrespecting you since you are not real. Aren’t you white trailer park trash.

      2. If the first thing you think about is sex when reading Turner’s post, I have to wonder about you. Did you get callouses in your knees when you were an altar boy? Seek help, dude.

        1. Nope. What a dolt! Pay attention Steve. Where have you been moron? markturner may be a convicted sex offender. He preys on children and young women. madmike confirmed that. Your turn to get on your knees and give markturner a good bj. ROFL.

          1. madmike didn’t confirm anything. He has me confused with one of the other three Mark Turners living in El Paso county. The one you’re talking about is Mark Philip Turner. He lives in Anthony and has no connection to this blog. He has a middle name and I do not. He has been advised to report madmike to the Department of Public Safety since the public is prohibited by law from harrassing sex offenders via information obtained from the sex offender registry. He declined to do so. His remark about madmike was “he must be a pathetic individual”. Madmike is a lonely bitter old man with no life and is to be pitied. If I were you, I wouldn’t put much credence to anything madmike says. He was run out of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, after pulling his gun like an insane person and shooting a family pet in a dog park. He’s no one to be looking up to; thats for sure.

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