California teen’s death tied to COVID-19, marking state’s 1st coronavirus fatality in a child


FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML via AP, File)

MADERA COUNTY Calif. (News Nation/KTLA) — California health officials confirmed Friday that a Central Valley teenager is the youngest person to date in the state whose death has been linked to COVID-19.

Authorities have not identified the teen, who had an underlying health condition, according to a news release from the California Department of Health. An age or gender was not provided.

“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of this young person whose death is a tragic and powerful reminder of how serious COVID-19 can be,” Dr. Sonia Angell, the state’s public health officer, said in the release.

The teen died at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera County.

“The death of this patient reaffirms that children — and no age group — are not immune from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the hospital said. “It is imperative, now more than ever, for us to all work together to prevent further spread of this disease.”

The state declined to release additional details about the case, citing patient confidentiality. But officials said the death is the first coronavirus-related death of a young person since the pandemic began.

Only about 9% of California’s half-million confirmed virus cases are children. It’s extremely rare for children to die of the coronavirus.

As of mid-July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 228 children had died of the disease in the U.S., less than 0.2% of the nation’s deaths.

California has recorded more than 493,500 cases of COVID-19 and 9,005 deaths, according to the state’s latest figures.

The state’s seven-day average for new cases was 8,322 per day, a drop from the previous week when the average was 9,881 over the same period.

The teen’s death comes days after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an infusion of cash and resources to help the Central Valley combat the virus, which has ravaged the region.

Newsom pledged that $52 million would be sent to San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties.

Most of the funding would come from a federal grant, and will help improve things like testing capacity, contact tracing and quarantine efforts. The state is also sending more recourses, including regional unified response teams, as well as additional supplies to the eight counties, according to the governor.

News Nation affiliates KRON and KSEE contributed to this report, as did the Associated Press

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