Coronavirus: First child dies of COVID-19 in California

MADERA, Calif. — California has recorded its first pediatric fatality due to COVID-19.

Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, California, reported the child’s death in a news release Friday. The patient died earlier in the week.

The hospital described the child’s death and other pediatric deaths as “distressing beyond measure.”

The hospital is not releasing the child’s gender, age or other personal or health information.

The California Department of Public Health said the patient was between 13 and 17 years of age and had underlying health conditions.

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

In a video conference with reporters, Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County’s interim health officer, called the loss “a heartbreaking case.”

“It just brings home the reality that this is not sparing even the youngest member of our community,” he said.

The California Department of Public Health said there have been no other reported deaths in younger age categories.

California has reported 498,774 total cases of COVID-19, according to data from The New York Times. Close behind are Florida (470,378 cases), Texas (438,243 cases) and New York (419,723 cases).

Nearly 45,000 children under the age of 18 have been infected with the novel coronavirus in California, the state’s department of public health reported.

So far, nearly 9,000 people have died due to coronavirus complications in California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cumulatively, 150,000 people have died of the virus across the U.S. The country has recorded more than 4.4 million cases.

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