A 5-year-old Detroit girl dies of COVID-19, becoming the first child to die in Michigan

A 5-year-old Detroit girl dies of COVID-19, becoming the first child to die in Michigan

DETROIT – A 5-year-old Detroit girl has died of the novel coronavirus, becoming the first child in the state to die of the pathogen that has now infected more than 31,000 Michiganders and claimed the lives of 2,391.

The victim is Skylar Herbert, who on Sunday became the youngest person in Michigan to die of COVID-19, according to Michigan Health Department statistics. Up until now, the state's youngest victim was 20; the oldest 107, with the average age being 73.

Beaumont Hospital confirmed Skylar's death late Sunday night.

"The loss of a child, at any time, under any circumstances, is a tragedy," Beaumont said in a statement. "We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to Skylar’s family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus."

Skylar Herbert, 5, of Detroit, became the first child to die of COVID-19 in Michigan on Sunday, April, 19, 2020.

According to the Detroit News, which was first to report Skylar's death, the girl tested positive for COVID-19 in March after initially complaining of a headache: her parents took her to the pediatrician, where she tested positive for strep throat and was sent home on antibiotics.

But the headaches were excruciating so they took her to the hospital, where she tested positive for the virus and later developed a rare form of meningitis and brain swelling. She died on Sunday at Royal Oak Beaumont after spending two weeks on a ventilator.

“We decided to take her off the ventilator today because her improvement had stopped, the doctors told us that it was possible she was brain dead, and we basically just knew she wasn’t coming back to us,” LaVondria Herbert, Skylar's mother, told the Detroit News.

The girl's mom is a Detroit police officer; her a father a firefighter.

Both are now desperately hoping for a cure so that other parents don't have to lose a child as they did.

“She was the type of girl that would just run up to you and jump in your arms and hug you," LaVondria told the News. "It didn’t matter what she was doing, she would stop what she was doing and tell me she loved me like 20 times a day."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called Skylar's death one of the "saddest" moments in the city's ongoing fight with COVID-19.

"We have had a number of sad days here since the coronavirus has hit this country, but this is one of the saddest. This weekend we lost 5-year-old Skyler Herbert, who was a real daughter of the City of Detroit," Duggan said on Monday, referring to her parents as "people whose entire lives were built around building the city."

Duggan said that he spoke to Skylar's mom on Monday and described the little girl as bright and personable.

Of her death, the mayor said: "It's a reminder of all of us what's at stake with our commitment to social distancing and I want the Herbert family to know that they're being held in the hearts of all Detroiters today."

Skyler was one of 47 deaths recorded over the last three days in Detroit.

Family and friends took to Facebook to mourn the little girl, saying they were heartbroken over the loss of a beautiful little girl remembered for her smile.

"This beautiful young soul is gone too soon. ... You hear news reports and sometimes because of all that has happened, we become numb, or simply don’t pay attention. However, when it hits home we are reminded of of the importance of life and how much we need to appreciate it. Tonight hit home," posted Fred Durhal III of Detroit, who is part of Skylar's extended family. "I’m here for you if you need anything. Love you all."

Skylar's uncle, Johnny Hardiman, pleaded with the public to pray for his family.

"This hurts to the core!!! Skylar💔 Everyone please pray for my brother and sister, Ebbie and LaVondria Herbert," Hardiman posted on Facebook.

Quin Qutie Jones, who described herself as Skylar's aunt, was equally devastated.


The Metropolitan Church of God, where Skylar attended, also asked for prayers for the child's family.

"There are no words to express how deeply saddened we are by the passing our beloved member Skylar Herbert," the church posted on Facebook. "Skylar touched our hearts with her cheerful spirit and brightened our Sunday's with her smile. We thank God for gracing our congregation with her life and find solace in knowing that she now rests in the Lord's presence."

Contributing: M.L. Elrick, Detroit Free Press

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/21/coronavirus-detroit-girl-dies-covid-19-youngest-michigan-victim/5170070002/

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