RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced Thursday morning that a child between the age of 10 and 19 in the Eastern Region has died from coronavirus complications.

According to health officials, this is the first reported death of a child with COVID-19 in Virginia’s Eastern Region.

The first child in the Commonwealth to die from COVID-19 was a teenager in the Southside Health District back in September 2020.

Since then, the VDH has confirmed two virus-related deaths in children under 10, including a central Virginia child in March and then a child in the Rappahannock Area Health District in July. The department’s coronavirus dashboard also includes a total of six coronavirus deaths among children between the ages of 10 and 19.

“We extend our condolences to the family and friends of this child at this time of great loss,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver. “COVID-19 has taken thousands of lives from us, and every death is a tragedy. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. As we have seen in recent weeks, a COVID variant, the Delta variant, spreads more easily from one person to another. We have made progress in these past months against this virus, but a tragic event like the death of this young child is a stark reminder that our work is not done.”

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the VDH encourages the following actions:

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you or your children. To find a free vaccine near you, click here.
  • Wear a mask in indoor public settings, even if you are fully vaccinated. Virginia is currently experiencing high levels of COVID-19 spread.
  • Practice physical distancing by maintaining at least six feet of space between yourself and others.
  • Avoid large gatherings, crowds, and indoor spaces with poor airflow.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in public spaces. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, get tested.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

For more information on the coronavirus pandemic in the Commonwealth, visit the websites for the VDH or the CDC.

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