Girl with Rare Complication Becomes First Michigan Child to Die from Coronavirus

Coronavirus Test
AP Photo/Martin Mejia

A five-year-old girl with a rare medical complication resulting from the Chinese coronavirus became the first child with the virus to die in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday, according to the Detroit News.

In March, Skylar Herbert tested positive for the novel coronavirus then developed a rare form of meningitis and brain swelling.

Following two weeks on a ventilator, she passed away.

“We decided to take her off the ventilator today because her improvement had stopped, the doctors told us that it was possible she was brain dead, and we basically just knew she wasn’t coming back to us,” said her mother, LaVondria Herbert.

When she was admitted to the hospital on March 29, doctors discovered she had “meningoencephalitis, a rare complication of the coronavirus, which caused swelling of brain tissue and a lesion on her frontal lobe,” the article said.

Before Skylar, the youngest person on record to die of the virus in Michigan was 20 years old, according to the report.

The article continued:

It’s at least the second Michigan example of concerning new complications in the COVID-19 pandemic. A 58-year-old woman being treated for the coronavirus at Henry Ford Health System last month developed acute necrotizing encephalitis, the first published association between COVID-19 and the central nervous system infection that mostly afflicts young children.

That case was reported on March 31 in the medical journal Radiology as the first of its kind. The International Journal of Infectious Diseases on April 3 reported a case of encephalitis/meningitis in a COVID-19 positive patient out of Japan.

As of Sunday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan was 31,424, which included 2,391 deaths, according to Click on Detroit.

“Michigan started reporting recoveries in April, with 3,237 total reported as of Saturday. The number of people recovered today represents COVID-19 confirmed individuals with an onset date on or prior to March 18,” the report said.

Skylar’s parents, who both work as first responders, said they had no idea how their daughter contracted the illness because she had been in the house for weeks and had no previous health issues.

Ebbie Herbert, the girl’s father, was tested for the disease when he began showing symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath.

However, his test reportedly came back inconclusive.

“The family lives in a ZIP code that is among the hardest hit — with 559 cases reported as of Sunday,” the Detroit News noted.

In a statement, a spokesman for Beaumont Health confirmed Skylar’s death and said the loss of a child, under any circumstances, was a tragedy.

“We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to Skylar’s family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus,” the statement read.


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