0426_DNR_Cargill COVID_1

In this 2010 family photo, Lauro Carlos Bautista Lopez, second from right, poses for a picture with his son, Ricardo Bautista Lopez, left, daughter, Aracely Bautista Lopez, and son-in-law, Porfirio Vega. Lopez died Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19, according to his family.

Lauro Carlos Bautista Lopez, 69, of Harrisonburg, was near retirement after working at Cargill in Dayton for around 30 years, according to a Sunday interview with one of his sons, Ricardo Bautista.

But Lopez died on Thursday — two days after testing positive for COVID-19.

“It’s hard for me, you know,” Bautista said. “I lost my father.”

Lopez was a hard worker as well as a good and loving father, according to Bautista.

A representative of Cargill could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Lopez married Paula Ignacia Lopez Hernandez in 1970 and they had three children, two sons and one daughter. Hernandez lives in Mexico and will be unable to come to the funeral due to the shutdowns related to COVID-19, according to Bautista.

On Sunday afternoons, Lopez attended Spanish-language Mass at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. He disliked cold weather and enjoyed walking through parks and playing basketball on nice days, according to Bautista.

Cargill plant staff noticed Lopez’s high temperature on April 17, and he was told to go home before he started work during his usual nighttime shift at the facility.

Bautista said his father had been coughing increasingly since then.

“You can’t tell that it’s going to get bad, you know?” he said.

On that day, a Friday, Lopez made an appointment with a doctor for the following Monday, April 20. During the appointment, the doctor performed a test for COVID-19 and told him the results would be available that Wednesday, according to Bautista.

However, the doctor called back on Tuesday, telling Lopez he had tested positive for COVID-19. Over the phone, the doctor gave him a list of over-the-counter vitamins to take, according to Bautista.

That same day, Bautista and his father bought three out of the four recommended vitamins, but they were unable to find the fourth due to a miscommunication, according to Bautista.

Also on Tuesday, Lopez began having trouble breathing, which had grown worse by Wednesday, according to Bautista.

Lopez and his son lived together, so when Bautista went to his work at Pilgrim’s Pride, he made sure his father was comfortable, had food to eat and water and tea to drink. Bautista said they ate dinner together Wednesday.

On Thursday, Bautista went to work in the morning and called his father to check on him during his first break, which was around 9:45 a.m. Lopez did not pick up.

Bautista called again during his second break at work around 12:45 p.m. Again, no answer.

So Bautista went straight home after getting out of work at 4:35 p.m.

He knocked on the door of his father’s room three times. Yet again, no answer, so he went in.

“I tried to wake him. I thought he was sleeping,” Bautista said.

He put his finger to his father’s neck.

“His neck was warm, but his fingers were cold,” Bautista said.

It was then he called other members of the family, who called emergency medical personnel, but it was too late. Lopez had died.

Bautista said he was confused why, with his father being so sick, medical professionals only told Lopez to stay home and self-quarantine instead of going to the hospital.

Essential workers across the country, from grocery stores to shipping centers and meat processing plants, have voiced concerns about working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meat processing facilities across the country have had to stop production due to workers walking out, claiming employers failed to take their COVID-19 concerns seriously, and mass outbreaks forcing plants to shut down.

Some of the countries largest outbreaks have been connected to meat processing plants, such as in Sioux Falls, S.D., where a Smithfield pork plant closed indefinitely on April 13, according to a company press release. The plant is one of the largest in the country and produces 4-5% of the country’s pork products and is supplied by over 550 individual farms.

Over 640 COVID-19 cases had been linked to the 3,700-employee facility by April 17, according to a report from The New York Times. On April 17, it was the largest COVID-19 “hot spot” in the country.

Contact Ian Munro at 574-6278 or imunro@dnronline.com. Follow Ian on Twitter @iamIanMunro

(4) comments


While I would ordinarily not comment on an article about a person’s passing, the family seems to be okay with speaking about it. So, I think some clarification is needed in the article. The father is diagnosed with having the Wuhan virus a day after testing, the son is living with the father and is having actual contact with him, yet the son continues to go to work. If the Wuhan virus is so contagious does the son now have it? If isolation is the order of the day, why did the son continue to go to work knowing he had had contact with an infected person? If the son now has it what is his condition and let us hope that he recovers quickly.


Been over 100 people sent home said by Cargill Nurse at this Cargill facility with covid19 symptoms at this facility and they still dont understand family is 1 not the turkey . But they dont share this information. Now this gentlemen spend all his life working for Cargill and the family got to suffer . So he work 13 April Monday to Thursday 16 and the 17 they sent him home with symptoms. But they dont said been over 100 with symptoms before him . Who else got to die to close this plant . This family got to be devastated.


We here in VA are to be pitied for living in a state that is one of the lowest for making available COVID-19 tests. I'm aware of one person who was turned away from the RMH tent who had all the symptoms but had not recently traveled internationally. This person's doctor finally authorized testing and it took 5 days to report back a positive result. Today in Pennsylvania, you can be tested in a drug store, but certainly not here.


The poor man’s “doctor” should be investigated to have prescribed “vitamins.”

On a side note, is this what readers can now expect: A story about every area person that dies after coughing and running a fever??

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