FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - A 17-year-old boy from Fort Worth being treated for COVID-19 at Cook Children's Medical Center has died, the hospital confirmed on Wednesday, Dec. 9.
According to a Tarrant County spokesperson, he is the youngest person in the county to die of COVID-19.
For privacy reasons, neither the county, nor the hospital could release any other details about the patient.
"Today we mourn the loss of Tarrant County's first child to COVID-19. Tarrant County Public Health has felt the loss of each of the 913 county residents, young and old that have lost their fight. We ask now more than ever that our community act to protect themselves and their loved ones. Avoid all non-essential trips, wear a mask, avoid group gatherings, and wash your hands regularly to help reduce the chances of you contracting or spreading the disease. Let's make sure we don't lose another child to COVID-19." Vinny Taneja, Director of Tarrant County Public Health.
As of Wednesday, Cook Children's said it was treating 21 patients for COVID-19.
Its seven-day positivity rate is 11.4% and overall positivity rate is 6.9%.
Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or none at all.
"It seems that children have not been affected as much or as severely as adults," said Dr. Gary Floyd, American Academy of Pediatrics board member.
But some children do become seriously ill.
Babies under a year old and children with underlying medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, obesity or heart disease are more at risk.
They could require hospitalization, intensive care or a ventilator to help them breathe.
"Luckily, this virus has not shown tremendous fatality with children, but you can't dismiss it. It does happen," said Dr. Floyd.
Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said on Tuesday there were 18 available ICU beds in Tarrant County and 79 across the region.
He suggested a major accident or natural disaster in North Texas could quickly take up remaining space.
Much of Taneja's situational briefing to Tarrant County Commissioners focused on the first vaccine doses, which could be approved and available for distribution to health care professionals by next week.
Caroline Vandergriff contributed to this report.
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