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Lancaster teen is possible coronavirus death; his father is also infected, mayor says

A discarded glove on the street
A discarded glove on the ground on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

A Lancaster teen who may have died of the coronavirus was killed by septic shock, and his father is also infected with the virus, the city’s mayor said Tuesday.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said in an interview that the father “had close contact on the job with the public daily.” It’s unclear how the teenager got the virus.

“This is truly awful to lose a child,” Parris said.

After initially announcing that a minor had died as a result of the coronavirus, Los Angeles County public health officials released a statement Tuesday evening clarifying that information.

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“The juvenile fatality that the Los Angeles County Department Public Health reported earlier today will require further evaluation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the statement read. “Though early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality. Patient privacy prevents our offering further details at this time.”

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department said earlier Tuesday that it was working to confirm how the teenager contracted the virus. They are also looking into whether the case marks the first death of a minor linked to coronavirus in the country.

“This is a devastating reminder that COVID-19 affects people of all ages,” L.A. County Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer said.

The teenager did not have any preexisting conditions, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference Tuesday evening.

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In response, Parris said he is asking that all children to stay indoors and is working to secure 100,000 coronavirus test kits. He expressed frustration at the lack of testing.

“They aren’t testing hardly anybody. So we aren’t going to wait for the county. We are going to provide our own tests,” he said.

Authorities also confirmed an additional 128 cases of coronavirus infection, bringing the county’s total to 662. Of those, 42% are in people ages 18 to 40, and 39% are in people 41 to 65.

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released last week, there had been no coronavirus fatalities in the United States of people under 18. The report also said there had been no reported ICU admissions for people under 19.


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