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News >  Health

Spokane Regional Health District says report of child death from COVID-19 was incorrect

June 1, 2021 Updated Thu., June 3, 2021 at 6:38 p.m.

Coronavirus  (HOGP)
Coronavirus (HOGP)

Editor’s note: The Spokane Regional Health District reported Wednesday that it incorrectly reported this week that a child younger than 10 from Spokane County died last week from COVID-19. Health District spokesperson Kelli Hawkins said the initial report of the death from COVID-19 was determined to be incorrect upon further investigation. She noted that all COVID-19 deaths are investigated further after they are initially reported to ensure that the person who died actually died as a result of COVID-19, actually was a resident of Spokane County and to double check other data. She said she did not know which of those scenarios lead the district to determine the earlier report was incorrect and that she could not immediately provide more information about the specific death. The Spokesman-Review reported about the death in a front page story in Wednesday’s newspaper.

The Spokane Regional Health District reported that a child died last week of COVID-19. The child, younger than 10, is the youngest local victim of a disease that has killed more than 600 people in the county.

The Spokane Regional Health District reported the death last week and is looking more closely at the case. Death data is preliminary and subject to change, and further review is underway by both local and state health departments.

The district would not release additional details about the child, other than the cause of death.

The child died early last week, and health district spokeswoman Kelli Hawkins did not know if there were underlying health conditions or other complications, like multisystem inflammatory syndrome, associated with the death. The Department of Health also could not verify any conditions related to the death.

The death marks the youngest mortality recorded in Spokane County to date due to COVID-19. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, there have been four deaths in residents under the age of 19 due to the virus.

There are no vaccines yet available to children younger than 12, but children have increasingly tested positive for the virus in recent weeks.

Since May 1, more than 300 kids countywide under the age of 10 have tested positive for COVID-19. County residents 19 and younger accounted for 25% of the confirmed cases in May.

COVID-19 is typically mild in younger children and teens, but health experts have advised parents to get their children vaccinated anyway when they are eligible.

While rare, there have been cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with children testing positive for the virus in Washington. None of these cases have led to death in Washington, but nationwide, 35 children have died from multisystem inflammatory syndrome as a result of a COVID-19 diagnosis.

“We know there is a real threat with COVID in children, most people think it’s asymptomatic, but since mid-May, we’ve had over 3,700 cases of severe illness MIS in children and 35 known deaths from that condition associated with COVID infection–not vaccination,” Dr. Shireesha Dhanireddy told reporters during a state press briefing last week.

Nationwide, there have been 3,742 confirmed cases of MIS, and in Washington, as of the end of April, there have been 49 confirmed cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children statewide, including two confirmed cases in Spokane County. None of these cases have resulted in death, however.

Here’s a look at local numbers

On Tuesday, the Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 87 new COVID-19 cases. Over the long weekend, the district confirmed 246 new cases.

There are currently 61 people hospitalized with the virus in Spokane .

After adjustments to data, there are 643 confirmed deaths in county residents due to COVID-19. Case counts are still being impacted by backlogged data flowing into local records from the state.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 77 new cases on Tuesday and over the long weekend but no additional deaths.

There are 33 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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