In a statement, the department said the following:
The California Department of Public Health confirmed today the COVID-related death of a teenager in the Central Valley. This is the first death in California of a teenager, and this young person had underlying health conditions. Due to patient confidentiality, CDPH will not provide any additional information about this death. There have been no reported deaths in younger age categories, including children 5 and under.
Per the official statement, this is the first confirmed coronavirus death in a Californian under the age 18. There have been other minors who are suspected to have succumbed to the virus, but the connection was never confirmed via a positive test.
The news comes just one day after an outbreak was reported at USC, infecting about 40 people on fraternity row there.
“A significant number of the cases were associated with four fraternity houses,” a university health official said.
In all, about 150 Trojan students and employees have tested positive so far, even as the school has moved the vast majority of classes online, canceled events, limited on-campus housing, added mask requirements as well as social-distancing and symptom-checking measures.
While early in L.A.’s coronavirus outbreak cases were much more prevalent among people over 60 years old, a majority of the area’s infections have now been recorded in people between the ages of 18 and 49.
California also quietly reported on Friday that it has seen 9,000 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began. There was no media announcement, no press conference from once-ubiquitous Governor Gavin Newsom.
California now trails only New York and New Jersey in terms of death toll from the virus. While those states have bent the COVID curve down, California is still losing record numbers of residents daily.
The state saw an all-time high of 197 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday. California’s pandemic accounted for another 194 new deaths on Thursday.
Deaths have dramatically increased from the near-flat levels in June. Two weeks ago, that daily average of lives lost due to the virus was just 89. On Friday, the 14-day daily average of daily deaths attributed to coronavirus had risen to 112.
The spike began in earnest last week, with a then-record 157 deaths on Thursday topped by 159 deaths recorded last Friday.
Over the weekend and early in the week, those numbers dipped as state officials announced new reporting protocols had created a backlog of results. The recent skyrocketing numbers are, no doubt, at least in part due to that backlog. But the fact that they have resumed on a march to new highs does not bode well.
In addition to the deaths milestone, California reported 8,086 new coronavirus cases, for a total of 493,588 since the pandemic began.