Orange County public health officials confirmed on Friday its first COVID-19-related pediatric death in the county.
Officials have not disclosed the name or exact age of the child, but said they were younger than five and had unspecified underlying health conditions. The child reportedly died last month.
"It's just heartbreaking," O.C. Supervisor Katrina Foley told City News Service. "But really the only way out of this pandemic—and you've heard me say this a thousand times—is to get vaccinated."
O.C.’s only other juvenile COVID-19 fatality was reported in Aug. 2020. The deceased was a teenager with significant comorbidities.
Deputy Health Officer Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong said there are more than 450,000 children in the county who aren't eligible to get vaccinated and are at heightened risk from the virus.
Four more COVID-related fatalities were logged on Friday, bringing the county’s cumulative death toll to 5,299. The number of hospitalizations in O.C. due to COVID-19 has continued to trend down, however.
All of the deaths logged Friday occurred in August. A total of 103 people died from COVID-19 in the county last month. 96 percent of those who died were unvaccinated.
There have been no reported COVID-related fatalities in O.C. for the month of September thus far.