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12/15/2020 - The Loss of a Colleague from COVID-19

To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and Professor of Physics

I write to share the sad news of the passing of a longtime staff member from COVID-19. 

Monday morning, Ramon Ramirez, a Caltech roofer and valued member of the facilities group for the last 15 years, died from complications related to the disease. Prior to his passing, Ramon had been self-isolating at home. He tested positive for COVID-19 at an offsite testing location earlier in the month. 

Ramon will be deeply missed within the Caltech community, where he has been remembered by close colleagues and friends as a caring individual whose goodwill and humor touched all who interacted with him. The death of a community member is always difficult. In the midst of a pandemic that has engendered incredible loss in many different ways for so many individuals, it may bring additional distress. Please know that Caltech offers confidential counseling with licensed mental health practitioners for all members of our community.

Faculty, staff, and postdoctoral scholars, or members of their families, may contact the Staff and Faculty Consultation Center on campus at (626) 395-8360 or by emailing sfcc@caltech.edu. Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to contact the Student Counseling Center at (626) 395-8331 for a telephone appointment; after-hours help is available by calling the same number and pressing "2" for an on-call counselor.

This is a time for all of us, as a community, to offer support to colleagues and friends, and to encourage those in need to take advantage of these professional resources. 

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases around L.A. County, as well as within our Caltech community, is sobering. I strongly urge all of you to exercise great caution in your activities and to adhere closely to public health orders and Institute guidelines for mitigating the spread of infection.

On behalf of the Institute, I extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and coworkers of our late colleague.