BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A child under the age of one has become the first that young to die from COVID-19 in Louisiana during the fourth surge of the coronavirus in the state, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
“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,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement released early Wednesday afternoon.
The exact age of the child has not been released.
“Right now, we are seeing younger people hospitalized. They are getting sicker than in the previous surge and, unfortunately some of them may die. Already, this week, we have confirmed 6,146 COVID cases in children and last week there were 63 pediatric cases of COVID admitted to the hospital. Even children who are not hospitalized or very sick are contagious.”
The statement notes that a child this young has not died from COVID in Louisiana in more than six months. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, a total of 11 children younger than 18 have died from COVID in Louisiana. On Wednesday, 31 percent of newly reported COVID-19 cases in Louisiana were in children younger than 18.
“This news is heartbreaking,” State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter said in the 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. The best way we can protect ourselves, our loved ones and young children who are not eligible to get the vaccine is to get vaccinated ourselves and wear a mask. It’s really that simple.”
The Louisiana Department of Health updates data on Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases weekly on Wednesdays. According to that data, 17 more cases have been confirmed since last week, bringing the total confirmed cases to 200. Eight children have died from the rare syndrome since the pandemic began. No new deaths from MIS-C deaths have been reported since last week.
The latest surge of COVID-19 is largely driven by the stronger, more contagious Delta variant and the state’s lower vaccination rates.
“The Delta variant, which now accounts for all of the COVID cases in our state, is far more contagious than previous strains of COVID as our strained hospitals prove. We have hope in the form of safe and effective vaccines, but only if many more of us who are eligible and able to actually take them and only if we slow the spread of this illness through masking and distancing as well. All Louisianans, regardless of their age or health status, are worthy of our care and attention. Every person lost to this virus, young or old, leaves a hole in the fabric of our communities.”
The news comes one day after Louisiana saw the highest number of deaths reported in a single day to date since the beginning of the pandemic, with 139.
The Louisiana Department of Health on Wednesday reported a total of 110 deaths statewide from COVID, bringing the total deaths in the state from COVID-19 to 12,226. 6,619 more cases have also been reported statewide since Tuesday and 2,844 people are hospitalized across the state, with 472 on ventilators.
HOW TO GET A COVID VACCINE IN LOUISIANA
Everyone age 12 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana. The FDA has fully authorized Pfizer’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine for everyone ages 16 and up. The Pfizer vaccine for those between the ages of 12 and 15 remains under emergency use authorization. Parents should confirm with the vaccine provider that their child is under 18 to ensure the Pfizer vaccine is available before making an appointment.
- COVID-19 vaccines are widely available at more than 1,400 locations in all of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, including at pharmacies, hospitals, health care clinics, and doctor’s offices.
- For a list of locations, visit LDH’s vaccine directory or visit vaccines.gov, which is maintained by the federal government.
- To get a list of vaccine locations near you text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish.
- If you have questions, would like to speak with a medical professional, or need help scheduling an appointment, call 211 or Louisiana’s vaccine hotline at 1-855-453-0774.