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UVU student dies from COVID-19 amid spike in case numbers

FILE PHOTO -- UVU announced it would be hosting its graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020, implementing a drive-thru system to maintain social distancing.

OREM, Utah — A Utah Valley University student has died from COVID-19, the university announced this week. Trevor Syphus Lee, 27, was a senior expecting to graduate in the spring of 2021. Officials report he had underlying medical conditions. 

Lee was taking the summer semester off and was not enrolled in any classes at the university when he died Tuesday. 

“According to the state health department, Trevor had underlying medical conditions,” UVU President Astrid Tuminez wrote in an email to the university community.

The school offered its support and sympathy to Lee’s family, noting crisis and grief counseling is available through the Student Health Services for students, faculty and staff. 

Lee was the third of five children who “loved life and making people happy,” according to his family’s obituary statement. He previously served a mission to Brazil from 2013 to 2015 for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

His family says his “Christ-like love that he gave this world will always be remembered.”

Tuminez wrote that UVU hoped this “announcement would never come.” 

“Let us continue to be vigilant in our care for one another,” she said.

Cases of COVID-19 have spiked in recent weeks amid the eased restrictions and reopening businesses. Although the vast majority of Utah’s COVID deaths have been among its senior population, there have been deaths among the young adult demographics. 

This includes Lee and 24-year-old Silvia Melendez in March. She also had underlying medical conditions. 

“The loss of Trevor leaves an emptiness that cannot be filled,” Tuminez said. “We offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and those influenced by this bright young man.”