Southwest Idaho infant dies of COVID-19

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has confirmed the state’s first pediatric death due to COVID-19. 

The child was an infant younger than 1 year old who lived in southwest Idaho and died in October. The department said it will release no other details about the child to protect the family’s privacy.

Nationwide, nearly 900 children have died due to COVID-19. 

Though this is the first recorded death in a child due to COVID, death isn’t the only adverse outcome for young people in Idaho. As of Tuesday, Idaho has reported 37 cases of COVID-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a painful inflammation involving multiple organs in pediatric patients. 

In August, a Nampa toddler needed treatment for liver failure after a COVID-19 infection; While she mostly recovered, it still isn’t clear what the long-term damage to her liver might be.

This year, Idaho recorded four COVID-related deaths in women who had been pregnant in the year preceding their deaths, Hahn said. Additionally, the state has recorded two stillborn babies for whom a recent COVID infection in their mothers was listed as an underlying condition on the death certificate. Saint Alphonsus OB-GYN Dr. Guillermo Guzman, told reporters Tuesday some of his patients have lost pregnancies due to COVID. Others needed early induction because of the infection.

Children are also affected by their parents’ illnesses and deaths. An October report estimated that about 500 Idaho children had lost primary caregivers due to COVID-19 by the end of June.

“The situation highlights the seriousness of COVID 19 and the impacts it can have on families,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn during an IDHW press call.

While seniors are more likely to experience severe illness and death due to COVID-19, younger people aren’t immune. In September, one out of every five COVID deaths reported to the state was a person younger than 60. Since September 1, the number of decedents ages 18-29 has doubled from 8 to 16.

The state is not tracking long COVID in patients, pediatric or otherwise, said Dr. Kathryn Turner, deputy state epidemiologist and chief of IDHW’s Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention.

As of Monday, the state had recorded 3,678 deaths; 1 in every 500 Idahoans has died of COVID-19. 

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