83-year-old Utah woman who lived at senior center dies after contracting coronavirus, family says

(Courtesy photo) Shannon Broadhead, left, with her grandmother Donna Saracino in this undated photo.

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing readers free access to critical local stories about the coronavirus during this time of heightened concern. See more coverage here. To support journalism like this, please consider donating or become a subscriber.

A family says an 83-year-old great-grandmother is the latest person to die from the coronavirus in Utah.

Donna Saracino died Tuesday at University Hospital, according to granddaughter Shannon Broadhead.

Saracino would have been the state’s sixth fatality. Her death was not reflected on a count released Tuesday by the Utah Department of Health, though the department has been waiting 24 hours before adding any death to the tally.

On Wednesday, the department’s statewide death toll was put at seven.

Saracino was a resident of Chateau Brickyard Senior Living, 3080 S. Richmond St., near the boundaries of Salt Lake City and Millcreek. The facility last week posted notices on its website saying two residents had tested positive for COVID-19.

One resident was recovering in his apartment under quarantine, the March 22 notice said. A second resident had been hospitalized.

Broadhead said her grandmother was in one of Chateau Brickyard’s independent living units. They function like conventional apartments. Residents don’t necessarily have contact with staffers, , Broadhead explained, and come and go as they please.

“We really don’t think Chateau did anything negligent," Broadhead said.

She said Chateau Brickyard banned visitors the week of March 9 — about a week before the rest of the state began social distancing. The next week, Broadhead said, the facility closed the dining room and started delivering meals to residents.

“My grandma told all of us that she was staying in her room and was bored," Broadhead said.

(Courtesy photo) Donna and Al Saracino stand in this photo dated Aug. 8, 2009. Donna Saracino died March 31, 2020, from coronavirus. Her husband, Al Saracino, died in 2015.

But one day, Broadhead said, Saracino acknowledged going to another resident’s room to play cards. She began showing symptoms of the coronavirus a few days later.

Chateau Brickyard is owned by a Blue Harbor Senior Living, based in Portland, Ore. A statement from the company said residents and staff at Chateau Brickyard were saddened by Saracino’s death and Blue Harbor offered condolences to her family.

The company began taking steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus in mid-February and imposed the more-stringent conditions March 17.

“We do everything we can," it said, “to help residents understand why it’s so important to follow these protocols.”

Broadhead said Saracino was born and raised in Salt Lake City. She graduated from Granite High School and then worked for Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Co. She eventually retired from there.

Saracino had four children with her first husband. The couple divorced. Saracino was married to a second husband, Al Saracino, for 32 years. He died in 2015.