EL CENTRO – Imperial County Public Health Department has confirmed the death of the youngest local victim of COVID-19.
The health department issued a press release Tuesday announcing that it had received notice of the death of a child under the age of 9 several weeks ago. It was not only the county’s first COVID-related death for a child younger than 9; it was the first death of anyone younger than 20. In fact, out of the county’s 726 COVID deaths, only 37 of them have been persons younger than 50.
ICPHD attributed the delay in the release of the news to its verification process.
“Case investigations take time to complete as proper documents need to be received and properly reviewed,” ICPHD said in the release. “The investigation for this particular case was completed May 14, 2021.”
The child was found to have no underlying health conditions, the health department said, adding that due to privacy issues, no other patient information will be released.
“It is heart-wrenching to lose a child under any circumstances,” said county Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday. “Our condolences go out to the family and to the many families that have suffered loss related to COVID-19. Since children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the best approach we can take to protect the children in our community is to make sure those around them, who can get vaccinated, do get vaccinated, and that we all continue to follow those measures that prevent transmission of the virus.”
As of Tuesday morning, the county reported 28.44 percent (54,507) of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, and 36.73 percent (70,397) have received first doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. ICPHD is urging community members who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine to do so as soon as possible.
Vaccines are now available for individuals 12 years and older and easily accessible at many provider sites throughout Imperial County, including health care offices, hospitals, community clinics, pharmacies, as well as the Imperial County Public Health Department.
To register for available COVID-19 vaccine clinics, residents are encouraged to enroll in the state’s My Turn system at https://myturn.ca.gov.