Family says 24-year-old Utah woman has died from coronavirus

(Courtesy photo) Silvia D. Melendez, 24, died from the coronavirus at the University of Utah Hospital on Sunday, March 29, 2020, according to her relatives.

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A West Jordan family says five people in the household contracted COVID-19, and the infection killed a 24-year-old daughter and sister.

Silvia Deyanira Melendez died Saturday at University Hospital, members of her family said. Her death was not reflected in the new numbers the Utah Department of Health released Sunday. The department listed 719 cases of coronavirus and two deaths from it. Also on Sunday, the family of Bob Garff, the chairman of the Ken Garff Automotive Group, announced his death from the virus.

Melendez’s father, Marcos, 54, began suffering symptoms about two weeks ago.

“When I talked to the doctor,” Marcos Melendez said in a phone interview Sunday, “she said if I had [symptoms] or anyone in my family had it, we’re supposed to [assume] we’re positive.”

Seven people live in the Melendez home in West Jordan. So far, five of them have tested positive or had coronavirus symptoms. Marcos and two of his sons weathered fever, chills, coughs, diarrhea and body aches at home.

“I just felt weak and hot all the time,” said 22-year-old Xander Melendez, one of Marcos’ sons.

Silvia D. Melendez and her 49-year-old mother, Silvia B. Melendez, were hospitalized March 20 with severe breathing problems. The daughter suffered from diabetes and had a heart surgery two years ago, the family said, and the virus hit her hard.

Angelica Macias, who is the girlfriend of Silvia D. Melendez’s brother and lives with the family, said doctors sedated the 24-year-old and gave her a breathing tube. Her blood pressure continued dropping.

“Her oxygen level started getting better,” Macias said, “but the last day her heart started beating too fast.”

Melendez’s mother went home Saturday and is recovering.

Xander Melendez said his sister worked as a receptionist at a medical imaging company. She hoped to one day have a career that would let her travel.

“She was a fighter, that’s for sure,” Xander Melendez said. “She fought a lot of things in her life.”

Macias and her sister, who also lives in the Melendez home, have not exhibited any symptoms. While the surviving patients are starting to come out of quarantine, Macias and her sister plan to continue social distancing.

“We didn’t think it would ever happen to us,” Macias said of contracting the virus. “Out of our whole family, we didn’t think anybody would receive it.”