California officials report first coronavirus death of a child

Health officials say a Central Valley teen with other health issues died from the virus.

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 2:04 PM
Updated: Jul 31, 2020 4:24 PM

CALIFORNIA — California health officials reported the state’s first coronavirus death of a child on Friday as the statewide death total surpassed 9,000, saying the victim was a teenager who had other health conditions.

The teenager’s death occurred in the Central Valley, but officials at the state Department of Public Health released no other details, citing privacy rules. The Central Valley is the state’s major agricultural region and recently has become one of California’s hot spots for the virus.

It’s extremely rare for children to die of the coronavirus. As of mid-July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 228 children had died of the disease in the U.S., less than 0.2% of the nation’s deaths at the time.

In California, more than 9,000 people have now died from the virus, and three-quarters were 65 and older. Only about 9% of California’s half-million confirmed virus cases are children, and very few have suffered conditions serious enough for hospitalization, according to state data.

Scientists still aren’t certain why children don’t seem to be as seriously affected by the virus as adults.

In March, Los Angeles County officials said a 17-year-old buy died of the virus. At the time it was believed to be the first death of a child, but days later local health officials walked back the initial finding, saying 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 from his city died from septic shock after being admitted to the hospital with respiratory issues.

How likely children are to contract and spread the virus is a key question as leaders in California and elsewhere determine if and how to safely reopen schools this fall. Most California counties are now on a state monitoring list because of rising virus cases and and may not reopen schools for in-person instruction until they are off the list for 14 days.

Statewide, 96 people died during the past 24 hours, according to figures released Friday. Cases are increasing by the thousands each day, but the curve appears to be flattening. The average number of new cases per day over the past week was 8,322, compared to 9,881 in the previous week.

The percentage of people testing positive has dropped to 6.5% over the past seven days, compared to 7.2% over the past 14 days.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged more support for the Central Valley on Monday, including $52 million in federal money for eight counties to improve testing and find places for people to isolate or quarantine if they can’t do so at home. The eight counties, including Fresno and Kern, home to major cities, had positive test rates between 11% and 18% at the beginning of the week, well above the state average.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 574231

Reported Deaths: 10476
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2105434998
Riverside41983820
Orange40527726
San Bernardino36072546
San Diego32975594
Kern24440171
Fresno17846171
Alameda13631209
San Joaquin12864223
Santa Clara12694205
Sacramento12040177
Tulare10862196
Stanislaus10264169
Imperial9693244
Contra Costa9404139
Ventura863492
San Francisco762367
Santa Barbara670469
San Mateo6318120
Merced573670
Monterey544635
Marin540481
Kings445356
Solano427441
Sonoma367047
Madera246339
Placer231922
San Luis Obispo225416
Yolo183444
Santa Cruz12436
Butte12388
Napa107411
Sutter9527
San Benito7654
El Dorado7552
Lassen6830
Yuba6464
Mendocino47210
Shasta45910
Colusa3914
Glenn3603
Nevada3571
Humboldt2864
Tehama2761
Lake2402
Amador1822
Mono1581
Tuolumne1553
Calaveras1471
Inyo1063
Siskiyou1020
Del Norte1000
Mariposa622
Plumas360
Modoc50
Trinity50
Sierra40
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 72°
Oroville
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 71°
Paradise
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Chester
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 60°
Red Bluff
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74° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 74°
Willows
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
It wasn't as hot for northern California today, but temperatures still reached seasonable summer levels and more thunderstorms sprung over our eastern counties. After one more seasonable day, hotter weather will return to our area.
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