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Utah patient who died from coronavirus was a family man, loved God, had history of pneumonia

Posted at 10:27 PM, Mar 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 00:34:02-04

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — For the first time in the state of Utah, someone has died from the novel coronavirus.

The patient was a man over the age of 60 years old who lived in Davis County.

"It is with deep and sincere sadness that we’re here to announce the first COVID-19 related death here in Utah," said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn with the Utah Department of Health. "I understand the profound loss you must be feeling and I wish there was more we could have done to protect your loved one."

FOX 13 is honoring requests from family members who would prefer that his name and photo not be shared publicly at this time due to privacy concerns.

Family members said they want to remember him as more than just a coronavirus patient, describing him as a family man and a servant of God.

"We do everything we can to protect the identity of the individual and their family," Dunn said. "It’s obviously a very hard time for them right now."

The victim's daughter told FOX 13 her dad had been diagnosed with pneumonia several times in the past, which likely compromised his lungs.

"I am OK. I am at peace. What a privilege I have had of being his daughter," she said. "Truly I have been born of goodly parents. Please don't let this heighten any fears you may have of the virus. I know this is scary, but I also know that God does not give us the spirit of fear."

The man came into contact with COVID-19 from traveling.

He was treated at Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful for two days before his death. Although it all happened so quickly, family members said they are glad he did not suffer -- that God answered their prayers.

"I cried and cried at 4 a.m. this morning and begged my Father in Heaven that if my Dad wasn't going to make it, to not let this drag out and have my dad suffer," the victim's daughter said. "God is so good. He heard our prayers. It literally took my dad only minutes in the end to pass and now he is having a glorious reunion on the other side."

Dr. Michael Baumann, the Chief Medical Officer for MountainStar Healthcare, said he does not believe anyone at Lakeview Hospital was exposed.

"I’d also like to thank our staff who did a very good job taking care of this patient, and part of the reason they did such a good job taking care of the patient is due to the family," Baumann said. "The family did the right thing. They knew there was an issue. They called ahead, and that allowed us to be even better prepared to take care of this patient."

"We have not yet identified a positive case of COVID-19 in a healthcare worker in Utah," Dunn said.

The Utah Department of Health is now in the process of contacting anyone who came into contact with the patient to see if they need to be quarantined.

State leaders said guidelines and recommendations from the Utah Department of Health are not changing as a result of this case. They said they hope the case serves as a reminder to practice what they have been preaching from the beginning: wash you hands, maintain a safe social distance from others, and limit your exposure.