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Father Says ‘Stay Home’ After 24-Year-Old Daughter Dies From COVID-19

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Two new deaths related to COVID-19 were announced Monday, bringing the number of deaths in Utah to four.

One of the cases was 77-year-old Salt Lake businessman, Robert Garff. He was a leader in the community and a former Speaker of the House.

The other was 24-year-old Silvia Melendez of West Jordan. She was Utah’s youngest victim to contract COVID-19 and die from the coronavirus as of Monday.

Silvia’s father, Marcos Melendez, said he was the first one in his household to show symptoms. But one by one, other people in his family started to get sick.

“I never expected it to happen to me or my family,” Melendez said.

Silvia was one of them. She and her mother eventually got so sick that they were both admitted to the hospital. Both tested positive for COVID-19.

“They were doing fine the first day,” said Silvia’s sister-in-law, Angelica Mecias. “The second day, I knew that Silvia was getting a little bit sicker. Then the third day they had to actually put her on a breathing machine.”

Her family said Silvia had Type 2 diabetes and underwent open-heart surgery for a tumor two years ago.

They knew she was high risk but hoped she would pull through.

“If someone went through heart surgery like that at 22 and she survived it, we knew that she was a fighter and she was a warrior,” said Macias.

However, Silvia couldn’t fight it off this time and she died at the University Hospital on Saturday.

Her father, in quarantine at home, wasn’t there to say goodbye.

“I wanted to hug my daughter, but I know she’s in a good place right now,” Melendez said through tears.

Melendez said he never expected this to happen to his family and he never expected to lose his daughter.

His message to everyone: stay home.

“It was so fast. So please, my message is to make sure you stay home,” said Melendez. “It’s better for everybody.”

Silvia’s mother has been released from the hospital. She and the rest of the family are recovering well and are still in quarantine.


Coronavirus Resources  

How Do I Prevent It?  

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:  

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick  
  • Avoid touching your face  
  • Stay home when you are sick  
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash  
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.  

How To Get Help  

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.   

Additional Resources  

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov. 

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