PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Health Authority reported Thursday that an infant boy in Oregon had tested positive for COVID-19 and died the same day.
This is Oregon’s youngest and only reported infant death related to COVID-19. Health officials described the death as extremely rare.
“We have all worked together for nearly a year in Oregon to protect the lives of those we hold most dear,” Gov. Kate Brown said. “The loss of a life so young is an indescribable tragedy for a family.”
The infant boy, from Umatilla County, tested positive for coronavirus at the Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Washington Jan. 17 and died the same day. Health officials say the infant had underlying health conditions.
The infant boy is the only person in Oregon nine or younger who has died from the virus. In addition there has only been one death between the ages of 10 and 19, based on data from the health authority.
Since the start of the pandemic, Oregonians nine and younger have accounted for 1.3% of the state’s COVID-19 cases, according to the health authority.
The hospitalization of children for COVID-19 related illnesses remains low compared with adults, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say. Children with certain underlying medical conditions and infants younger than 1 year old might be at increased risk for severe illness from SARS-CoV-2 infections. Among those who experienced severe illness from COVID-19, most have had underlying medical conditions.
“Children infected with COVID-19 are less likely to develop severe illnesses compared to adults,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, OHA’s health officer and state epidemiologist. “Risks still remain to children of developing more severe illnesses from COVID-19, and we continue to encourage all parents to seek emergency medical care for their children if certain symptoms are present.”
Symptoms requiring urgent medical attention for children with COVID-19-related conditions include trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away, a sudden onset of confusion, being unable to wake up or stay awake when not tired, and bluish lips or face.
The infant’s death was among the six deaths reported by the Oregon Health Authority on Thursday, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,149. In addition, 466 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases were reported, bringing the state total to 151,713.