No further information about the teenager was released. Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera confirmed that the patient was treated there before he died.
“This patient’s death reaffirms that children – and no age group – are immune to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the medical facility said in a statement. “It is imperative, now more than ever, that we all work together to prevent further disease. Our children deserve no less.”
The deaths come as Central California coronavirus cases have steadily increased in recent weeks, and as local politicians in Fresno County are debating whether children should return to schools to learn in person.
Officials at Valley Children̵
Central Valley is the state’s most important agricultural region and has recently become one of California’s hotspots for the virus.
It is extremely rare for children to die from the coronavirus. In mid-July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 228 children died from the disease in the United States, less than 0.2% of the country’s deaths.
In California, more than 9,000 people have died from the virus and three-quarters were 65 years and older. Only about 9% of California’s half a million confirmed cases of the virus are children, and very few have suffered severe enough hospitalization.
Researchers are still not sure why children do not seem to be as severely affected by the virus as adults.
In March, Los Angeles County officials said a 17-year-old purchase died of the virus. At the time, it was thought to be a child’s first death, but a few days later, local health officials went back from the first discovery and said it was possible he died from something else. County health officials said the case would need to be evaluated by the Centers for Disease Control.
Rex Parris, the mayor of Lancaster, said the boy left his town and died of septic shock after being admitted to hospital with respiratory problems.
How likely it is that children will be affected and spread the virus is an important question as leaders in California and elsewhere decide whether and how to safely reopen schools this fall. Most California counties are now on a state watch list due to rising virus cases and and may not reopen schools for personal instruction until they are off the list for 14 days.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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