A Hartford baby who died in late March and who was initially called the youngest COVID death in the country by Gov. Ned Lamont officially died from unexplained causes, the chief state’s medical examiner’s office announced late Friday afternoon.
The 6-1/2 week-old infant did test positive for COVID-19 post-mortem, but Chief State’s Medical Examiner James Gill said Friday not enough is known about how the virus impacts infants to know if it had any role in the baby’s death. Gill listed “unsafe sleep in bassinet with soft bedding” as a reason for the sudden death.
“Infants may die from unexplained causes (e.g., SIDS) or from compromised sleeping conditions,” Gill said. “Therefore, when there is no definitive cause of death at autopsy, these deaths are typically certified as “Undetermined” or “Sudden Unexpected/Unexplained Death in Infancy.”
Gill said that lung tissue was sent to the CDC for additional testing and they confirmed the COVID-19 infection which is part of the reason it has taken so long to close the case.
“There currently is limited medical information on how COVID-19 infection affects infants,” Gill said. “Therefore, the contributory role of COVID-19 infection remains unclear as the typical microscopic lung findings currently described in adult COVID-19 infections were not seen.”
The child arrived unresponsive at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center on March 26 and died that afternoon, and a preliminary police investigation into the infant’s death found no signs of trauma, officials said.
All patients who die in Connecticut hospitals during the pandemic are being tested for the virus, regardless of their manner of death, so the infant was tested post-mortem and the results came back positive.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced the baby’s death at one of his his daily coronavirus briefing and explicitly said the child’s death was caused by the virus. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin followed with his own emotional condolences to the family at his briefing an hour later and made the same implication.
“Probably the youngest person ever to die of COVID has died here in Connecticut,” Lamont said in announcing the baby’s death.
©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)
Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.