ALLENTOWN, PA (WNEP ) — A 21-year-old Penn State student from Allentown is thought to be the youngest person in the Keystone State to die from the coronavirus.
Penn State University says Juan Garcia started feeling sick while he was on campus in State College last month.
He went home to Allentown and tested positive on Monday.
Garcia passed away the following day.
He is the first known PSU student to have died from the coronavirus.
It is not known if he had any underlying health conditions.
People who are Garcia’s age in Lackawanna County said his death was pretty shocking.
“It’s kind of crazy, I mean that someone my age passed away from it, you know, but I mean it kind of gives everyone a heads up to take it a little more seriously now,” 21-year-old Jonathan Williams of Pittston Township said.
“The media has been putting it into a lot of our head’s that like, it’s mostly old people with health issues that were getting the coronavirus but someone that’s literally our age that’s passed away that definitely brings into perspective for everyone,” said Shelby Hoffman, also 21-years-old, of DuPont.
Young people in Old Forge said they have been worried about the spread of COVID-19.
“I’m not going to the gym. I’m working remotely from home, avoiding travel as much as possible and just kind of doing the necessities,” 27-year-old Adam Barsigian, of Old Forge, said.
“We try to stick with the same small four to five people that we hang out with if we go out. Then wear face masks, going to grocery stores, getting gas, sanitizing, everything like that,” Hoffman said.
On the opposite side of the state, Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh, is reporting its highest numbers since the pandemic began.
There were 233 new cases on Thursday alone.
Part of the surge is blamed on young people testing positive.
In response, the Allegheny County Health Department is forcing the closure of many bars and restaurants.
“A lot of it may be because of their own decisions and how they socialize, that may be why we’re seeing a spike in the younger population, whereas the older population is still kind of continuing to maintain that social distance,” Geisinger Medical Center Infectious Disease Director Dr. Alison Brodginski said.
Penn State is in the process of contact tracing those who may have been with Juan Garcia while he was contagious.
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