Pediatric COVID-19 infections have increased significantly since August, as evident in this Louisiana Department of Health chart. (LDH.gov/coronavirus)
Health officials on Friday confirmed that the coronavirus has killed another child in Louisiana, bringing the state’s pediatric death toll to 17.
According to a Louisiana Department of Health news release, the child was between the ages of 0 and 4. The death is one of eight pediatric deaths in the state during the fourth surge, which began in early July, and one of 17 total during the entire COVID-19 pandemic.
The state reported 39 deaths total, including all ages, on Friday.
Pediatric infections in Louisiana have increased significantly since August and deaths have been occurring on a near-weekly basis.
On Tuesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards extended the statewide face mask mandate for an additional 28 days. Edwards also Tuesday warned the public that health officials have noticed a sharp rise in pediatric infections.
State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter said the under 18-year-old age group has emerged as the frontrunner for new COVID-19 cases, accounting for 24% of the state’s active infections. Particularly, 5- to 17-year-olds have accounted for more new infections than any other age group since the week of Aug. 12-18, according to health department data.
“No parent should have to bury their child,” Kanter said in Friday’s news release. “We owe it to ourselves, our children and everyone around us to take advantage of the best protection we have, and that is the vaccine and wearing a mask.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 12 and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination. The Pfizer vaccine is available to children 12 and older. Parents are urged to confirm with the vaccine provider that their child is under 18 to ensure the Pfizer vaccine is available before making an appointment.
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