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2nd Child Dies From COVID In A Month In Louisiana, Health Officials Say


A child under the age of 1 has died from COVID-19 in Louisiana, the second COVID-related death of a patient under the age of 18 in August during the fourth wave fueled by the delta variant and low vaccination rates.

The Louisiana Department of Health reported the baby’s death as one of 110 new deaths Wednesday. The statewide toll is now 12,226. The news comes one day after the state hit a record high for new deaths.

“Each COVID-19 death in Louisiana has been heart wrenching, but the loss of such a young child, who could not be vaccinated yet, is tragic and a stark reminder of the difficult circumstance we are in throughout Louisiana,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards in a statement.

There have been 6,146 cases of COVID-19 in those 17 and younger so far this week and 63 children hospitalized with COVID-19 last week, the governor said. Ochsner Health, the largest health system in the state, is treating 20 pediatric patients, eight of whom are under the age of 10.

The average age of children hospitalized with COVID-19 at Ochsner hospitals is 5.5 years old.

Children under 12 are not eligible for any COVID-19 vaccine, and public health officials have repeatedly urged those around them to get vaccinated to protect children.

Dr. Joseph Kanter, the state health officer, called the news “heartbreaking” in a statement.

“And it’s a tragic reminder that the numbers we report everyday are also our children, friends and neighbors, and that no one is immune to this virus’ impact,” he said.

The highly contagious delta variant now accounts for all cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana. It has caused a spike in cases and hospitalizations among kids unseen in previous surges of the pandemic. Health officials and physicians have said they are worried about the increased risk to children.

The last time a child this young died of COVID-19 was during the winter surge. A total of 11 children under the age of 18 have died since the pandemic’s outbreak.

Earlier this month, Louisiana had the nation’s highest rate of COVID-19 cases among children.

This story has been updated to reflect new information.

Copyright 2021 WRKF. To see more, visit WRKF.

Rosemary Westwood is the public and reproductive health reporter for WWNO/WRKF. She was previously a freelance writer specializing in gender and reproductive rights, a radio producer, columnist, magazine writer and podcast host.

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