DALLAS — On Friday, Dallas County Health and Human Services announced 16 new COVID-19 deaths. One of them was baby boy, not even a year old, who the county reported had high-risk underlying health conditions.
"We never want to see children die due to COVID, but unfortunately, that’s what’s going on, and this virus continues to be lethal to many in our community," said DCHHS Public Information Officer Christian Grisales.
Grisales confirmed this infant is the third person, younger than 17, to die from COVID-19 in Dallas County.
“We want parents to understand that this is a concerning situation," Grisales said. "It is important that if you are able to vaccinate your child, to do it today.”
As the debate over masks in schools continue, case numbers rise, hospital beds fill up and the county continues to monitor the new MU variant, Grisales said the best things parents can do is to vaccinate and mask their children who are 12 and older, and keep masks on the children who are too young to be vaccinated.
Back in January, a 9-year-old boy from Vernon died at Cook Children's in Fort Worth. His father said he had no known underlying health conditions. Two days before he passed away, he showed no symptoms.
The day before he died, Tarrant County announced a baby boy, younger than one year old, passed away from the virus.
Children make up less than 1% of COVID deaths in both Dallas and Tarrant counties, but until there are zero, Grisales said parents need to do what they can to protect their kids.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the information about which underlying conditions complicate COVID-19 in kids is limited, but the department offered some guidance.
The CDC reports more serious underlying conditions like sick cell disease, immunosuppression or chronic lung disease can cause issues with virus.
Kids with common underlying health issues like asthma, diabetes and obesity are also at a higher risk of suffering from severe illness.
Like Grisales, the CDC advises parents to vaccinate eligible kids, keep them in masks and practice social distancing. Grisales said it's also important to have regular doctor visits to check for underlying health conditions.
In an effort to continue vaccinating people in North Texas, there will be pop-up clinics in Dallas this weekend.
Parkland Hospital will host one Saturday at Glenn Heights Senior Center from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The address is 1932 S. Hampton Road in Glenn Heights, TX., 75154.
On Sunday, there will be a pop-up vaccination center at the Oak Cliff Government Center from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The address there is 400 S. Zang Boulevard, Dallas, TX., 75208.