An infant boy under the age of one in southwest Oregon has died from COVID-19 complications, officials said. He is the third child to die in Oregon due to the coronavirus, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
The infant tested positive for COVID-19 in late August and died at home on Sept. 6th.
The baby was one of 13 deaths listed in the county’s Wednesday report. Children under age 12 are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. All but one of the others who died and were mentioned in the Wednesday report were not fully vaccinated, officials said.
“The significant number of deaths over the past month have been so incredibly tragic and heartbreaking,” Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said.
He said officials have chosen not to provide detailed case information out of respect for patient privacy and because of ethical responsibility to medical records laws.
“We can say that some of those who died were perfectly well before they contracted COVID and died,” Dannenhoffer said.
The health team thoroughly investigates all deaths, and reviews all medical records to make sure everyone meets the requirements for a COVID-related death per the Oregon Investigative Guidelines, Dannenhoffer said.
Data published by the Oregon Health Authority shows the risk of hospitalization for children infected with COVID-19 is low. About 1% of kids who test positive for COVID-19 are ever hospitalized.
According to the CDC, two age cohorts are at a little higher risk for severe illness: kids under four, and those 12 to 17.
Public health experts say increasing the community vaccination rate is critical to protecting children.
The CDC recently published results from an analysis of pediatric cases last month. Children in states with low vaccination rates were about four times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than kids in states where more people are vaccinated.
Gov. Kate Brown and state health and education officials have urged Oregonians to wear masks and get vaccinated as the highly transmissible delta variant continues to run rampant throughout the state.
In late August, Seattle Children’s Hospital confirmed its first patient death from COVID-19 but didn’t release any other information.