NH reports first COVID-19 related death of a child

·3 min read

Dec. 20—State health officials have confirmed the first person under age 18 to have died from complications related to COVID-19 in New Hampshire.

The death occurred in September in another state and was identified after COVID-19 was listed as a cause of death on the recently finalized death certificate, officials at the Departmentof Health and Humans Services (DHHS) announced Monday.

The child's name and age were not released. DHHS would only say that the child was under the age of 18 and was too young to have been vaccinated.

Vaccines were approved for children ages 12 to 15 years old in May, but kids ages 5 to 11 were unable to get the vaccine until last month.

"We are all saddened by this loss and give our condolences to the family," Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist said in a statement. "It continues to be important for us all to take steps to protect those who are not yet able to be vaccinated, and those who are vulnerable and at risk for severe COVID-19."

Between 25% to 30% of all new COVID-19 infections in New Hampshire involve individuals under the age of 18.

"Everybody 5 years of age or older should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, and everybody 16 years of age or older who has already completed a primary vaccination series should get a booster dose to have the highest level of protection," DHHS said in a release.

Information on where to get vaccinated in New Hampshire is available at vaccines.nh.gov.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association (AAPCHA), as of Dec. 16 almost 7.4 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. COVID cases among children are extremely high, with nearly 170,000 child cases added the past week, an increase of nearly 28% over the last 2 weeks.

Child COVID-19 cases are above 100,000 for the 19th week in a row, according to AAPCHA. Since the first week of September, there have been over 2.3 million additional child cases.

The age distribution of reported COVID-19 cases was provided on the health department websites of 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

Since the pandemic began, children represented 17.3% of total cases. For the week ending Dec. 16, children were 23.7% of reported weekly COVID-19 cases (children under age 18).

"At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children," AAPCHA said in a release. "However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects."

On Monday, DHHS reported 7 new deaths and 3,186 new cases over the weekend — 1,257 new cases from Dec. 19, 1,664 cases from Dec. 18, and 265 cases from Dec. 17. There are currently 8,504 cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire and 436 hospitalizations.

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