Fresno County teenager is the first California child to die because of COVID-19

A Central Valley teenager has died due to COVID-19 complications, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said on Friday.

Friday, July 31, 2020
Fresno County teenager is the first California child to die because of COVID-19
Health officials say the teen had underlying health conditions and is the first young person in the state to die from the virus.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno County teenager is the first child to die from coronavirus in California.

"I'm speechless when it comes to anything that I could say to the family. It's a heartbreaking case," said county health officer Dr. Rais Vohra. "It just brings home the reality that this is not sparing even the youngest member of our community."

Public health officials confirm the victim was a teenager and had underlying conditions, but privacy concerns are keeping them from giving many more details.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Tracking Central California COVID-19 cases

The patient got treatment at Valley Children's Hospital, where CEO Todd Suntrapak reminded the public just the day before that children are not immune to this virus.

"These are extraordinary times and they are absolutely being affected. There's no doubt about it," he said.

CDC data show more than 40 American children who were 15 or younger have died from COVID-19, a much lower death rate than for older patients.

And research shows kids up to the age of 9 are less likely to spread the virus, with a transmission rate of about 5%.

From the age of 10 and up, though, they're transmitting it just as much as adults.

But Valley Children's reported 69 pediatric patients needed to be hospitalized as of last week.

RELATED: Valley Children's Hospital warns of dangerous COVID-19 complications in kids

And now one of those patients has passed away.

"It's a huge trauma for everyone that's involved, including the hospital workers who are still coping with this case," said Dr. Vohra.

The death comes as Central California coronavirus cases have continuously surged over the last several weeks, and as local politicians in Fresno County debate whether children should return to schools for in-person learning.

Valley Children's Hospital has spoken out against children returning to campuses while COVID-19 transmissions levels are still high in the area.

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