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Child dies of coronavirus, becoming the first pediatric death in North Carolina

8-year-old Aurea Soto Morales is one of 950 COVID-19 deaths in North Carolina.

DURHAM, N.C. — A child has died of coronavirus in North Carolina, becoming the first pediatric death in the state to die from COVID-19, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Friday.

Aurea Soto Morales, a second-grader at Creekside Elementary School in Durham, North Carolina, died Monday after she was hospitalized at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill for complications from coronavirus, according to Raleigh NBC affiliate WRAL-TV

She started feeling sick last Thursday, May 28. She was tested for COVID-19. Later, she had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital.

Family members said she experienced swelling in her brain. She eventually went into a coma and passed away on June 1.

Her family shared Aurea's story with WRAL-TV because they wanted the public to know even children are not immune to COVID-19.  

FROM WRAL: Durham girl dies after fight with coronavirus

Credit: WRAL (NBC)

"We extend our deepest sympathies to this child’s family," North Carolina State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore said Friday. “While most COVID-19 cases in children are not severe, this is a tragic reminder for all of us that COVID-19 can be a serious illness for anyone."

As of June 4, more than 950 COVID-19-associated deaths have been reported in North Carolina, with nearly 800 of those being in people over 65 years of age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), less than one percent of COVID-19-associated deaths reported nationally have been in children 17 and younger.   

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Since the pandemic began, there have been 33,255 lab-confirmed cases in North Carolina. DHHS reported 1,289 new cases Friday, which is the most new cases reported in a single day and the second day in a row such a record has been broken. Friday's additional case count is 100 more cases than the 1,189 that were reported on Thursday. 

About 9% of the daily test administered are yielding positive positives, a number that is largely remaining stable.