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First child death from COVID-19 in Minnesota reported in Clay County

The infant had no underlying conditions before his or her death from the novel coronavirus, state health officials said.

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round blue objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (Submitted / NIAID-RML)
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MOORHEAD — The first death of a child from COVID-19 in Minnesota has been reported in Clay County, according to the state Department of Health.

During a Monday, July 20, briefing, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the child who died was 9 months old. She did not say where in Clay County the child resided.

"Obviously, out of respect for the family's privacy, we're not going to be sharing more about this, but our sympathies very much go out to the family," Malcolm said.


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The child was the first person under age 20 to die from COVID-19.

Malcolm described the infant's death as "exceedingly rare," but added, "it does underscore there's much we don't know" about the virus.

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said the infant had no underlying health conditions and was not hospitalized.

She said there were two causes of death listed for the child: upper and lower respiratory infections and a nasal culture that was positive for COVID-19.

Malcolm said this is one of the youngest such deaths reported in the country to date.

Specimens that were collected from the child in Minnesota were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta for further evaluation.

Ehresmann said that does not suggest that the evaluation done locally was insufficient, but that the information can become part of the greater scientific knowledge about COVID-19 deaths in infants.


According to the state's website, there have been 986 positive cases of the novel coronavirus in the 0-5 age group reported statewide, with one death.

There have been 4,905 such positive cases in children ages 6-19 with zero deaths.

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