A nine-year-old girl has been named as the youngest person to die from coronavirus in Florida, as her family say they have no idea where she caught the virus.
Kimora ‘Kimmie’ Lynum, nine, of Putnam County, Florida, died from coronavirus complications on July 17, despite not having any known pre-existing health conditions.
Lynum, who is the fifth minor to have died of coronavirus in Florida, had been taken to the hospital due to a high fever, her cousin Dejeon Cain said, according to CNN.
Cain said that Lynum, an only child, was sent home from the hospital and that she collapsed shortly afterwards.
It’s unclear how or when Lynum was exposed to coronavirus, as her family said that she had appeared to be healthy, did not go to school or camp and had spent the summer at home.
Putnam County health workers confirmed Lynum’s death Thursday and indicated that her catching coronavirus was not travel related, WCJBreported.
Health department officials also said Lynum had not been in close contact with anyone who had coronavirus.
Her mother was tested for the virus, but, as of Saturday, is still waiting for the results.
Cain called Lynum ‘phenomenal’ and said that she ‘was always happy and made everybody happy.’
He said the little girl’s death was ‘like a double whammy’ for the family, as he told that her father had been murdered in June.
‘It was very difficult, we just buried him and now we’re burying her. The family is troubled,’ Cain told My CBS 4.
A vigil was held for Lynum in Gainesville, Florida, on Thursday, during which more than 100 people – wearing masks – gathered to release balloons in her honor.
Cain said that Lynum ‘didn’t have a chance to live her life but she was always happy, she was resilient and she just was an outgoing young lady.’
Lynum’s family is asking that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reconsider opening schools too early, as the state is increasingly being ravaged by coronavirus.
As of Saturday, Florida now has more confirmed coronavirus cases – 414,511 total – than former pandemic epicenter New York state. Florida is now in second place for most virus cases, behind California, according to CNBC.
Health officials said the number of coronavirus hospitalizations has increased by 79 per cent since July 4.
‘The governor needs to be honest with people. By not being honest, it puts everyone at risk, and we can’t use our children as pawns and put them out there out to die,’ Cain said.
‘Kimmie was a beautiful soul who couldn’t live her life and if we don’t get control of this we’ll have more of this in the state,’ Cain added.
Putnam County school district Superintendent Richard Surrency told My CBS 4 that they are still planning to reopen schools on August 24.
Surrency said mental health staff are ‘on call’ for Lynum’s teachers and classmates. He also said that the school district has hired and trained more cleaning staff in an effort to make sure schools are safe for students to return to.
The four other children who died from coronavirus lived in other parts of the state.
Prior children who died of coronavirus in Florida are an 11-year-old boy in Miami-Dade County; an 11-year-old girl in Broward County; a 16-year-old girl in Lee County and a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County.
As of July 17, a reported 23,170 minors have tested positive for coronavirus in Florida.
Lynum’s family have started a GoFundMe, seeking to raise $10,000 to help cover her funeral expenses.
‘We are fundraising to help the family of little, sweet Kimora put her to rest beautifully; so that she can be remembered as the sweet soul in the next life as she was in this one,’ the family wrote.