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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

California announces its first coronavirus-related death of a child

The teenager lived in Central California and had underlying health conditions that further complicated their symptoms, according to state health officials.

SAN DIEGO — A Central California teenager died from COVID-19 earlier this week -- the first death of a minor documented in the state.

Hospital officials in Madera, near Fresno, said they are unable to provide the gender, age, ethnicity or circumstances surrounding the death, according to federal and state privacy laws. 

Valley Children's Hospital in Madera confirmed in a Facebook post that the child was one of its patients.  

"The death of this patient reaffirms that children---and no age group---are not immune from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement says. "It is imperative, now more than ever, for us to all work together to prevent further spread of this disease."

State health officials confirmed this was the first young person to die in California from the virus, with no deaths in younger age categories, including children five and under.

Though the exact age of the deceased isn't released yet, younger people, in general, are catching COVID-19 at a remarkably higher rate nationwide and within San Diego County.

According to coronavirus data from San Diego County, children younger than 20 years old account for 10.7 percent of all local cases but zero deaths.

Adults older than 70 years old account for 7.8 percent of all local cases and 69.4% of the deaths in the county.

The death of a teen adds to the debate about whether children should return to school for in-person learning.

San Diego County must get off the state's watchlist for containing the virus before in-person school can be fully implemented.

San Diego Unified School District recently released its plan for distance learning, including six hours of study with three hours of live instruction, seven subjects of teaching and grading information.

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