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'She’s perfectly healthy, yet something as dangerous as COVID still got to her' | Caldwell County teen on road to recovery after catching COVID-19

Zoey Taylor, 14, tested positive for COVID-19, then complained about not being able to breathe. Experts say it's a trend with kids catching the delta variant.

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — Caldwell County teenager Zoey Taylor is now on the road to recovery after catching COVID-19 with symptoms so severe she had to be airlifted and placed on oxygen.

The 14-year-old told her parents she noticed something was wrong when she continued to have a fever for days along with body aches difficulty keeping food down. A trip to the ER revealed she was positive for COVID-19.

“She says, 'No, I can’t breathe mom,' so I took her to the ER again," Chong Taylor said. "And at the ER they tested her oxygen level. It was at 64.”

The dangerously low levels forced Zoey to be airlifted to Mission Hospital in Asheville. There, she was placed on oxygen and given IVs.

“It was a shock to me. She wears her mask everywhere we go, she wears her mask at school and she doesn’t have any bad health conditions,"  Chong Taylor said. "She’s perfectly healthy, yet something as dangerous as COVID still got to her.”

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Credit: Chong Taylor

Experts say that's now the case for many children as the delta variant continues to spread.

“We seem to be noticing that children are being more likely to get the delta variant, but also having more symptoms than previous variants," Ashok Gupta, director of the Gupta Program, said. "There's actually more children in the hospital and pediatrics unit than there used to be."

RELATED: COVID-19 cases among children in the Charlotte area are spiking. Here’s how your county is doing

Studies show up to one-quarter of the delta variant infections are in children under 16. Thankfully, Zoey is now on the road to recovery and no longer needs an oxygen machine to breathe, but her mother is still urging caution.

“I would definitely still follow the mask mandate rule and wash your hands because you may never know,"  Chong Taylor said.

A GoFundMe campaign has started to help the Taylor family cover the cost of the growing hospital bills.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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