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The Jefferson County Health Department has reported the county’s first pediatric COVID-19-related death. The child who died was 9 or younger, the Health Department reported in its latest weekly update today, May 18.

“We are deeply saddened by this news and our condolences go out to their family and friends,” said Brianne Zwiener, the Health Department’s communications specialist. “With this being a pediatric death, out of respect and privacy for the family, no other information is being provided.”

Before that child’s death, the youngest reported death in the county was a woman in her 20s, which was reported on August 25, 2021, Zwiener said.

The Health Department also reported another adult COVID-19-related death in this week’s report.

That death was a man in his 50s. With those latest deaths, the county has seen a total of 546 residents who have died because of the virus since the start of the pandemic, the Health Department reported.

During the week of May 8 to May 14, the county had 335 new COVID-19 cases, an 81.08 percent increase from the previous week when 185 cases were reported, according to the Health Department.

“It is part of an ongoing ebb and flow of disease circulating in the community,” Zwiener said. “Increasing numbers should be considered a prompt to residents to heighten their personal hygiene practices and update vaccinations/boosters if they are eligible as a proactive way to protect themselves and others around them.”

Despite that increase, the county still is in the green level on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) three-color COVID-19 warning system for the 10th consecutive week.

As of today, the county had seen a total of 54,162 coronavirus cases since the first ones were reported in March 2020, according to the Health Department.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, which reports data from the four major hospital systems in the area, reported that as of May 16, there were a total of 120 inpatient confirmed COVID-19 positive hospitalizations and 17 COVID-19-positive patients in the ICU. In addition, a total of five COVID-19 positive patients were on ventilators as of May 16.

Flu

The Health Department also reported another flu-related death this week.

The latest death was a woman in her 90s. So far this flu season the county has seen a total of four flu-related death, the Health Department reported.

The county saw eight more flu cases, which is a 33 percent decrease from the previous week, when there were 17 new cases reported. In all, 1,284 flu cases were reported this season, which ends May 21.

The next flu season will start in late September or early October, according to the Health Department.

Vaccines

Health officials urge residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The agency also encourages those who have received two COVID-19 vaccines to get a booster.

In addition, the CDC recommends those who are immunocompromised or who are 50 or older to get a second booster shot.

Eligible people may get the second booster if it’s been at least four months since their first one.

The Health Department also recommends people who are exposed to COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested. Those who are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease are advised to have a plan for rapid testing if needed and to talk to their healthcare provider about whether they need to take other steps to limit the spread of the diseases, including frequent hand-washing, wearing masks and social distancing.

People may sign up for a vaccine appointment through the Health Department by going to the state vaccine Navigator website at covidvaccine.mo.gov/navigator. Or they may call 877-435-8411. Or, to find another local vaccine site, visit vaccinefinder.org.