El Jebel man, 40, dies of COVID; had no known underlying health issues
Family remembers Alex Solis, who worked in Aspen and is survived by wife, two children
A 40-year-old El Jebel man with no known previous health issues died of COVID-19 on Saturday, according to family members and the Eagle County Coroner’s Office.
Luis Alexander Perez Solis died at his home in El Jebel after an illness of at least one week, according to Haley Leffler, deputy coroner. After talking to his family, she established that Solis had a fever on Jan. 9, got a COVID test on Jan. 11, received confirmation of the virus on Jan. 15 and died early on the morning of Jan. 16.
“They don’t know of any other health issues,” Leffler said. Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis said there won’t be an autopsy.
Solis, known as Alex, is survived by his wife, Vilma, and son Bryan, 11, and daughter Genesis, known as Belen, 2.
Solis lived and worked in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1999, according to his uncle, Jose Solis. He worked at the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen, first in housekeeping and more recently in the overnight laundry department. He moved to the United States from Ciudad Barrios, San Miguel, El Salvador. He previously worked at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen and Silvertree Hotel in Snowmass Village.
Jose said Thursday he knew Alex as a newborn and watched him grow into adulthood. He was a respectful person who liked helping other people, he said. His family is grieving their loss.
“His little daughter is always asking for him,” Jose said with the help of translation through his own daughter.
Vilma Solis, also speaking through an interpreter, said Alex was a good husband, good father and “good guy.” He was devoted to his children and spent his free time with them, she said.
The family is uncertain where Alex contracted the virus. Nobody else in the household became ill with COVID-19, Vilma said. Monday was supposed to be his last day of quarantine, she said.
Jose Solis said his nephew had a cough, fever, no taste or smell. He had been sick for nearly two weeks, he said. The death of the otherwise healthy man has been cause for concern for his family and friends.
“We’re all scared,” Jose Solis said. “We’re all taking precautions.”
Jose established a Go Fund Me Page with the consent of Vilma. The narrative said the family has “no finance resources to cover funeral costs and other associated expenses and for those reasons I am asking your generosity collaboration.”
A Go Fund Me page has been established to help raise funds for the burial of Alex Solis and for the benefit of his wife and two children. It can be found here.
The effort has raised nearly $11,000 as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The goal is $12,000.
The family said there are no current plans for a funeral service because of the pandemic.
A statement from St. Regis Aspen general manager Heather Steenge-Hart said, “We are heartbroken over the loss of our long-time associate and friend. Alex was an exemplary member of our team, who was recently recognized as ‘Employee of the Year.’ Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”
The statement didn not address a question from The Aspen Times on whether the hotel currently has other employees ill from COVID. An outbreak was reported earlier this year among participants in the hotel’s intern program.
An email circulated among employees of the St. Regis by senior management on Wednesday addressed other fundraising efforts.
“Alex was a sincerely dedicated employee who cared about his job and those he worked with,” the email said. “Many of our hosts have worked with Alex over his 20 year career and have many great stories and fond memories of Alex.”
The email sought donations for a fund for the family and said the housekeeping department will hold a bake sale Tuesday to raise money.
The St. Regis was working with the employee assistance program to provide counseling for Alex’s co-workers who desired it.
Eagle County Public Health updated its statistics on COVID deaths on Thursday and said it has recorded 17, according to director of communications Kris Widlak.
It does not appear that there was contact tracing to determine where Solis contracted the virus. Widlak said the focus of contact tracers in Eagle County is on schools and businesses.
“We’re completely beyond the time we can contract trace every case,” she said.
No information was immediately available from Pitkin County Public Health on whether a case such as Solis’s warranted contact tracing by the department since he was a worker in Aspen.
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