A Putnam County health official said she did not know if the girl had any preexisting conditions.

By Julie Mazziotta
July 23, 2020
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A 9-year-old girl in Florida has died from coronavirus complications, becoming the youngest in the state to die from the virus, health officials said.

In their daily reporting of new COVID-19 cases and deaths, the Florida Department of Health said Wednesday that a 9-year-old girl was one of the fatalities, the Miami Herald reported. She lived in Putnam County, in the northeastern part of the state, and officials said that she did not contract COVID-19 from travel or a close contact with the virus, meaning it was likely from community spread.

Putnam County Health Officer Mary Garcia told CNN that she did not know if the girl had any preexisting health conditions.

In Florida, 28,087 children have contracted COVID-19, 282 have been hospitalized for treatment and five have died as of Wednesday night, the Herald reported. Prior to the 9-year-old’s death, the youngest fatalities were in an 11-year-old boy in Miami-Dade County and an 11-year-old girl in Broward County.

The child’s death comes just after Florida’s Commissioner of the Department of Education issued an executive order requiring all schools to fully reopen in August. In response, the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teacher union, filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday to put a halt to the “unsafe” reopening of schools.

DeSantis had incorrectly claimed in April that COVID-19 does not “threaten kids” and that there had not been a “single fatality” nationwide of anyone under 25 years old, though there had already been at least five deaths in that age group at the time.

As of July 9, 241,904 children in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19, and 66 have died, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ count of publicly available data.

Nationwide, more than 4 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 and at least 143,100 people have died, according to The New York Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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