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Sonoma County records first COVID-19 death among minors

For information about how to schedule a vaccine in Sonoma County, go here.

To track coronavirus cases in Sonoma County, across California, the United States and around the world, go here.

For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

With the two-year anniversary of the pandemic approaching, Sonoma County reported a grim first this week: A girl between the ages of 12 and 17 became the first child to die of COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of 455 residents to date.

The county announced Monday that a girl in that age range died Jan. 25, but released little additional information.

A Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office representative said the girl’s death was not referred to the county coroner, meaning she may have died out of county, or under the care of a doctor who signed her death certificate after a prolonged hospital stay.

County officials did acknowledge that the girl had underlying health conditions, was hospitalized at the time of death and was “not fully vaccinated.”

They would not say whether that meant she was partially immunized or not at all, or whether she had received all the suggested coronavirus vaccine doses but was within the 14-day risk window after the last one.

“While we can’t go into detail about any specific COVID death in our community, the loss of anyone within this age range is indeed a heartbreaking tragedy for our community,” county health officer Dr. Sundari Mase said in a statement.

“Our hearts go out to this individual’s family as well as all of those who have lost loved ones due to this pandemic. Those with preexisting conditions remain highly vulnerable to the worst outcomes of COVID, and we can protect these individuals, young and old, if we all work together and get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible.”

The county has announced seven new COVID deaths this week, bringing the total through the pandemic to 455 in Sonoma County. There were at least 32 fatalities in January — with the possibility of more being added because of the lag in reporting times. That makes January the deadliest month for the coronavirus since August, and ties it for the fifth most lethal since the start of the pandemic.

The news on transmission rates in the county, however, is better. They continue to fall, from 248.7 new daily cases per 100,000 residents from Jan. 10-16, the peak of the omicron surge, to 77 for the one-week period ending Tuesday.

There were 66 local COVID hospitalizations Tuesday, another number that is gradually decreasing. There had been 79 on Feb. 5, 95 on Feb. 4 and an omicron high of 116 on Jan. 21. There were 15 ICU patients with COVID-19 in Sonoma County on Tuesday.

You can reach Phil Barber at 707-521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @Skinny_Post.

For information about how to schedule a vaccine in Sonoma County, go here.

To track coronavirus cases in Sonoma County, across California, the United States and around the world, go here.

For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

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