Arkansas health officials confirm 2 pediatric COVID deaths; cases involving young people rising across Mid-South


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Arkansas Department of Health on Thursday confirmed two pediatric deaths in the state have been attributed to COVID-19.

A spokesperson said one of the deaths was reported recently. The other happened late last year, but wasn’t confirmed as COVID-related until later.

Both involved children under 18. The state would not release exact ages or further information.

New numbers from those at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock paint a somber picture. As of July 22,12 patients have been admitted with COVID. Seven are in the intensive care unit, and four are on ventilators.

“We’re seeing more and more children get this,” said Dr. Jeff Warren, who serves on the Memphis City Council. “We’re seeing more and more young people get this.”

In Shelby County, a spokesperson with Le Bonheur Children’s hospital tells us they’re in good shape with their critical care beds, with two kids currently with COVID.

“The issue we’ve got, though, is how rapidly this is expanding,” Warren said.

The most recent stats posted to the Shelby County Health Department’s website shows 24% of active cases right now are in people 17 and younger.

“I had someone tell me about a 20-year-old just south in Mississippi who is now dead,” Warren said. “You know, they intubated him. He died completely healthy, no predisposed conditions or immunocompromised, got COVID and now is dead.”

Warren offers this piece of advice.

“If your child is between 12 and 16 and they haven’t been vaccinated, you definitely want them there,” Warren said.

The health department is planning back-to-school vaccination options for those eligible and want them.

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