Florida 17-year-old is the youngest in the state to die from coronavirus, records show

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MIAMI — A 17-year-old in Florida has died from COVID-19 complications, making him the first person in the state under 18 to die from the disease, according to Florida Department of Health records.

His death was counted by the state Friday, case line data shows. However, he is not listed in Friday’s pediatric COVID-19 report, which provides weekly statewide COVID-19 data on confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths in those under the age of 18.

Florida Department of Health did not immediately respond to the Miami Herald’s inquiry on why his death was not included in the weekly report.

The Pasco County teen had no recent travel history and had been hospitalized for COVID-19 complications at some point during his illness, according to health department records. It is still unknown if he had been in contact with anyone known to have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Previously, the youngest person in Florida to have died from COVID-19 was a 22-year-old woman in Palm Beach County who had no recent travel history and had been hospitalized at some point during her illness, data shows. The state has recorded more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began in March.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that “relatively few children with COVID-19 are hospitalized and that fewer children than adults experience fever, cough, or shortness of breath” though there have been reports of COVID-19 associated pediatric deaths and hospitalizations in the United States.

As of Friday, the state has recorded a total of 4,809 children under the age of 18 confirmed to have had the disease, according to the pediatric report. Of those, 131 were hospitalized.

While most COVID-19 cases among children are not severe, with many kids being asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms, health officials are also concerned about the development of multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C.

The disease is believed to be connected to COVID-19, the CDC says, and has been described as “inflammation (swelling) across multiple body systems,” including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal organs.”

Many of the children diagnosed with the syndrome tested positive for COVID-19, were previously infected with the novel coronavirus, based on antibody tests, or had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. It’s still unknown if the syndrome can also affect adults or if there are certain children who are at higher risk of falling ill with the syndrome.

Doctors in South Florida have previously told the Miami Herald that while most kids recover from COVID-19 and MIS-C, parents need to make sure their children are following social distancing rules, wearing masks if they are older than 2 and frequently washing their hands. They should also keep their child at home if they are sick.

Children should also be taken to the ER immediately if they begin to experience “emergency warning signs” including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face or severe abdominal pain.


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