Leflore County officials believe a Greenwood infant has died from COVID-19, which would make him the youngest victim in the county to die from the virus since the start of the pandemic last year.
Debra Sanders, Leflore County’s coroner, and Will Gnemi, the deputy coroner, both stressed, however, that either an autopsy needs to be conducted or the infant’s medical records need to be examined by the state medical examiner’s office to determine the official cause of death.
“There was an infant who passed away, we believe, from COVID, but we will be doing an autopsy to get an exact cause of death,” Gnemi said Thursday.
The infant boy, who was less than 1 year old, was pronounced dead around 1:30 a.m. Thursday at the emergency room of Greenwood Leflore Hospital, Sanders said.
While at the hospital, the infant was diagnosed with COVID-19 and also had respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common respiratory virus that causes mild, cold-like symptoms, Sanders said.
Most people who develop RSV recover within a week or two. For infants, RSV can be particularly troublesome, leading to the development of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in children younger than 1, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have to do everything possible to make sure that children are safe,” Sanders said, imploring people to get vaccinated if they have not done so and to wear masks.
“Babies can’t protect themselves,” she said. “Stay out of their face.”
COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone 12 and older in the U.S., though not for infants.
The second youngest victim of the respiratory illness in Leflore County, if the infant’s death is confirmed to be from COVID-19, was a woman in her 20s.
She died at the Greenwood hospital on Monday.
The infant’s death certificate has yet to be submitted to the Mississippi State Department of Health’s COVID-19 tracker, meaning it is not included in the state’s total count for COVID-19 deaths. Sanders said, though, that the infant’s death certificate will be submitted to the state in the near future.
To date, 136 people in Leflore County have died from the virus, according to the state Department of Health.
As of Thursday, there were seven COVID-19 patients at the Greenwood hospital, four of whom were on ventilators, according to Christine Hemphill, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
Leflore County ranks 73rd out of the county’s 82 counties in terms of the infection rate, with 5.02 new cases per 10,000 people for the week ending Wednesday, according to tracking by the Brown School of Public Health.
- Contact Gerard Edic at 662-581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.