RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In less than 24 hours, two pediatric COVID-19 deaths in Central Virginia were confirmed to 8News.
A child, ages 0 to 9, died on July 27 in the Chesterfield Health District, which includes Chesterfield County, Powhatan County and the City of Colonial Heights.
Another child between the ages of 10 and 19 died earlier this month in Richmond and Henrico (RHHD) health districts. RHHD Deputy Director Dr. Melissa Viray told 8News that the child lived in the city of Richmond, making this the first pediatric COVID-19 death in the city.
Child under 10 dies from COVID-19 in Richmond/Henrico area
“It’s so heartbreaking and it’s really tragic,” Viray said. “But it certainly sends a message to our communities that it’s so important — for our children — that we get vaccinated and that we’re doing everything we can to reduce transmission in the community.”
As of Thursday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Highland County has become the only county in Virginia with no substantial or moderate community transmission of COVID-19. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has reported a total of 32,593 COVID-19 hospitalizations, of which 745 were in children 19 years and younger.
VDH confirms COVID-19 death of child between 10 and 19 in Chesterfield Health District
“It is heartbreaking for us to see our community members suffer and for our community members to be affected and die from COVID-19,” Viray said. “It’s especially heartbreaking that it’s happening to those who are so young, because for us that’s our potential for the future.”
Virginia’s first pediatric COVID-19 death was reported in March 2021. Since then, 10 Commonwealth children have lost their lives due to the virus.
“Contrary to what happened around this time last year, we are not in lockdown. We are out and about in the community. Our children are on their way. Hopefully we’ll all be careful and wash our hands and stuff,” Viray said. “Unlike adults and people 12 years and older, our younger children cannot get vaccinated.”
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Viray said the best line of defense against pediatric COVID-19 deaths right now is to make sure everyone who can be vaccinated does so. She also encouraged children and the adults around them to continue wearing masks.
“If we can do everything we can to get our community vaccinated, it’s part of the reason why,” Viray said. “It’s part of the reason we push so hard to get vaccinated, people wear masks whenever possible, people are soothing, don’t go into crowded areas with poor ventilation because the end result could be as bad as this. ”