Utah Family Mourns Loss Of Father To COVID-19 As Cases Hit Record High

Nov 6, 2020, 10:13 PM | Updated: 10:16 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Officials with the Utah Department of Health said a record 17 people died from COVID-19 over the last day, and one of those victims was an immigrant who adored his family.

Juan Rodriguez raised his three sons in the Rose Park neighborhood, and it’s the same place that COVID-19 forced his family to say goodbye.

“I think more than anything my dad really taught us the importance of family,” said his son, Jose Rodriguez-Hernandez.

Family is the reason Rodriguez-Hernandez’s father came to the United States some 30 years ago.

The family of Juan Rodriguez promises to honor his memory after he died from COVID-19. (Used by permission of of Jose Rodriguez-Hernandez)

“My dad came here in the early 90s just looking for a better life for his family and my brother who had a traumatic head injury when he was a baby,” Rodriguez-Hernandez said.

Rodriguez and his wife hoped hard work would provide access to medical care and education for his three sons.

“That was really his dream, he wasn’t here trying to get rich or anything, he was just here trying to improve the quality of his family’s life,” Rodriguez-Hernandez said.

When the pandemic hit, 56-year-old Rodriguez put his family first. “We were social distancing. We were staying home. We were taking it seriously,” Rodriguez-Hernandez said.

Rodriguez kept going to work despite his diabetes which put him at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications.

“That’s what was hard, he is trying to provide for his family,” Rodriguez-Hernandez said. “He went to work and this is ultimately what caused his life to end.”

Like many COVID-19 patients, he died alone in the hospital on Oct. 27 – three days after he was admitted to the hospital.

“You want to be there to hold their hand to tell them that they’re going to be OK, that you’re going to be OK. But not being able to do that is really what’s making this so difficult,” Rodriguez-Hernandez said.

COVID-19 ended Rodriguez’s life prematurely, but his family will honor his memory.

“We’re grateful for all the sacrifices and the struggles,” Rodriguez-Hernandez said. “I want him to be remembered, not as a person who died from COVID but somebody who, who loved his family, who worked very hard in the U.S. to give his family a better life.

“I think he would want his passing to not be in vain and that’s why I’ve decided to share his story so that people can have a human face to the lives that are being lost in the pandemic.”

A GoFundMe* account has been established to help cover funeral expenses.

Coronavirus Resources

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com.

What is COVID-19? Here’s What You Need To Know To Stay Healthy: ksltv.com/432037/what-is-covid-19/

The latest coronavirus stories from KSL can be found at staging.ksltv.com/coronavirus/.

Where in the world has the coronavirus already appeared? See the map: staging.ksltv.com/?p=432035

Your Life Your Health: How can parents prepare their home, children against coronavirus: staging.ksltv.com/?p=432060

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 is 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 health care professional recommends it.

*KSL-TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Utah Family Mourns Loss Of Father To COVID-19 As Cases Hit Record High