8-year-old girl rescued at Reedley Beach on life support, has COVID-19

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Eight-year old-Samantha Cruzpedro is not expected to survive much longer. Her distraught parents are hoping to keep her on life support, long enough for her siblings to come from Mexico to say goodbye.

Reedley Police say she was underwater for at least 15 minutes when rescuers found her and pulled her out of the water.

Now, the girl's family has told police that Samantha was diagnosed with the coronavirus when she was tested at Valley Children's Hospital.

"So we did have one officer that assisted in directly pulling her out of the water once they found her, so he had a direct exposure," says Reedley Police Commander Marc Ediger. "We had a second employee who for evidence purposes collected all of her clothing."

Two employees at the police department and two employees at the Reedley Fire Department had close contact with Samantha. Members of the Sequoia Safety Council also responded but were wearing full personal protective equipment.

First responders were able to re-establish a pulse, but Samantha never regained consciousness.

"In those types of situations, a lot of times there's not a lot of time to don personal protective equipment," Ediger said. "You are trained to save life and to protect life and so that's what our people did, along with fire and EMS."

Samantha's family members told police she had no signs of any illness prior to the day she went to the river with two friends and their parents.

Manjeet Singh also lost his life trying to save the children, who all three drifted into the cold current. Singh was wading in the water and didn't know how to swim, but jumped in anyway to help.

RELATED: Community gathers to remember man who died saving children at Reedley Beach

"I think his sacrifice that he made is going to live on forever," said Reedley Police Chief Joe Garza. "It's going to live on in the hearts and minds of people."

There is a petition to rename Reedley Beach in honor of Singh.

Some members of the community have started already. Nearly 2,000 people have signed it, but it would need to be approved by city leaders to move forward.
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