RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Health confirmed the state’s second reported COVID-19 death in a child under the age of 10 on Thursday.
The VDH said in a release that the child lived in the Rappahannock Area Health District, which includes the health departments in the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford. The health department’s COVID-19 dashboard shows the child was in Stafford county. VDH said out of respect for the family’s privacy, they would not be offering any more information.
The Free Lance Star, a local Fredericksburg newspaper, reported it was a Latino boy. 8News has extensively reported on how minorities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. A report in November focused on Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that shows both locally and nationally, Black, Hispanic, and Native American people are approximately four times more likely to be hospitalized than others when contracting COVID-19.
“We extend our condolences to the family of this child in this time of great loss,” Virginia Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver said in a statement.
“Across the country, COVID-19 continues to cause illness and death. The more contagious Delta variant is now the most predominant strain across the country. We urge everyone age 12 and older who is eligible to get vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. We have made so much progress in these past months against this virus, but a tragic event like the death of this young child is a stark reminder that our work continues. Even as many of the restrictions of the past year on gathering and mask-wearing are no longer in place, we urge everyone to take precautions to protect themselves and those around them.”
A child dying from COVID-19 is extremely rare. This is the second child in the 0-9 age group to die of coronavirus complications in Virginia. In March, a young child under ten died in the Chesterfield Health district, which covers Chesterfield County, Colonial Heights, and Powhatan.
Much of society is moving on in this “new normal.” People are going on vacations, ditching social distancing, and finally hugging their grandparents.
However, kids under 12 years old still can’t get vaccinated. “It’s so important, particularly for children ages two and up, when they do go outside of the home, particularly in crowded settings, that they’re wearing masks,” said Amy Popovich, nurse manager for Richmond and Henrico’s health districts.
Popovich said a death like this is a solomn reminder that the pandemic isn’t over.
She anticipates vaccines will be offered to kids under 12 this fall but said until then, families need to be careful.
“It’s thinking a little bit about the risk level. how many people will be there, how crowded will it be, and how many people have gotten vaccinated.”
The nurse manager said people shouldn’t forget about testing! She recommends families get tested before vacations and if your little ones have COVID symptoms, stay home.