First Grader in Minn. Dies of COVID Complications
A Minnesota first-grader has died from complications due to COVID-19.
The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed the news in a statement Monday, writing that they were "deeply saddened" by the news.
"While COVID-related deaths in children are rare, they can occur even in otherwise healthy children," the statement reads, adding that this death marks the third COVID-19 death of a child under the age of 18 in Minnesota.
Gov. Tim Walz also addressed the child's death Monday, writing on social media that he was "heartbroken."
"My thoughts are with the Minnesota family grieving the loss of their beloved child," he wrote. "As vaccines help us turn the page on COVID-19, we can't forget that this deadly disease is still present in our communities."
The child did not have underlying health conditions, a representative for Walz told WCCO.
The child, who has not been identified, was a student at Park Side Elementary in the Marshall School District, officials told the news station.
Superintendent of Marshall Public Schools Jeremy Williams told the outlet that the student died on Sunday. He added that crisis counselors will be at Park Side Elementary for those in need.
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Walz and the school district did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
In its statement Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health reminded people that, because children under 16 are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine yet, diligence is required to keep them from getting sick.
"The best approach we all can take to keep children safe is to make sure those around them who can get vaccinated do get vaccinated, and that we continue to follow those measures that prevent transmission of the virus," the department wrote.
"Those measures include getting vaccinated as soon as you can, wearing masks when in public, socially distancing, getting tested regularly, staying home if you test positive or if you're sick, washing your hands and covering your coughs."
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