AUBURN, Calif. — Placer County Public Health has confirmed the county’s first COVID-19 death of a youth under the age of 18, a child with no underlying health conditions. The death occurred earlier in the summer.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family for their loss,” said interim Health Officer Dr. Rob Oldham. “Every life lost prematurely to COVID is tragic, and this is particularly heartbreaking.”
Altogether, Placer County has recorded more than 650 COVID-19 deaths since March 2020, the majority among elderly adults. While poor outcomes from COVID are rare in children, vaccination helps protect against severe disease.
“It is important that residents stay up-to-date on COVID vaccinations,” said Oldham. “For the youngest children, that might mean completing their initial series. For older adults, that might mean a second booster. If you are eligible, do not wait to get your booster.”
Vaccinations are widely available throughout the county, with walk-up locations or appointments available at myturn.ca.gov. All people aged 6 months and older can receive a vaccine.
Those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least 4 months after their first. Use the CDC’s online tool to determine whether you are eligible for a booster. An updated booster vaccine targeting Omicron variants is expected in the fall, but individuals who are eligible now should not delay.
In addition to vaccination, there are other tools which can protect vulnerable individuals from severe outcomes of COVID-19. Treatments such as Paxlovid are more widely available through healthcare providers, pharmacies, and through the county’s OptumServe Test to Treat sites. High quality masks, such as N95s or KF94s and KN95s, also help provide protection against infection.
COVID surged in the late spring and early summer months this year as Omicron and its variants, most notably BA.5, spread rapidly and evaded immunity from previous infection and vaccination. Community transmission appears to have crested in the last several weeks even as spread remains elevated. While case data is less precise at this stage of the pandemic due to the availability of home testing, COVID hospitalizations — a reliable if lagged metric — have recently declined.