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First Virginia child under 10 dies from COVID-19, health officials confirm

Health director: 'Children are not immune to the disease'
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Posted at 1:27 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 17:35:16-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The first child under the age of 10 in Virginia has died from complications from COVID-19, state health officials announced Thursday afternoon.

The child died from "complications of a chronic health condition and COVID-19," according to officials with the Virginia Department of Health.

The child lived in the Central Virginia Region, according to health officials, which includes the Chickahominy, Chesterfield, Crater, Henrico, Piedmont, Richmond and Southside health districts.

Officials said the child did not have Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), which was recently found in several children in metro-Richmond.

“Our heartfelt condolences are extended to the family and friends of this child,” Virginia Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. said. “While fewer cases of COVID-19 are reported in children compared with adults, children are not immune to the disease."

Dr. Oliver noted there have been more than 80 COVID-19 deaths among children under 5 and more than 180 COVID-19 deaths among children 5 to 17 years old in the U.S.

"At a time when vaccination efforts give us reason to be hopeful, we cannot let down our guard," Dr. Oliver said. "Please continue to do the things we know protect others because they reduce virus spread – get vaccinated when it’s your turn, wear a face mask, stay 6 feet away from others when outside the home, avoid large crowds, and wash your hands often.”

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Virginia COVID-19 Deaths as of Thursday, March 4

RELATED: County-by-county look at COVID-19 deaths in Virginia

Officials noted the child's death will be reflected on the state's COVID-19 dashboard Friday.

"VDH will disclose no further information about the child to protect privacy and out of respect for the patient’s family," officials said.

A teenager, who lived in the Southside Health District, died of COVID-19 in September, according to the health department. The Southside Health District serves Halifax, Brunswick and Mecklenburg counties.

A second death among 10-19 year olds was reported in the Rappahannock/Rapidan Health District, which includes Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties.

As of Thursday, more than 9,350 Virginians had died as a result of COVID-19. That includes:

  • 2 -- Ages 10-19
  • 17 -- Ages 20-29
  • 70 -- Ages 30-39
  • 175 -- Ages 40-49
  • 610 -- Ages 50-59
  • 1,459 -- Ages 60-69
  • 2,443 -- Ages 70-79
  • 4,562 -- Ages 80+

More than 90 percent of the state's coronavirus deaths have been those age 60 or older.

Health officials continue to urge folks take the following precautions to "lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections," which includes COVID-19:

  • Wear a cloth face covering in public.
  • Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, get tested.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid large gatherings and contact with crowds.
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you.

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.