WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A 6-year-old child has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Palm Beach County Health Department. The case is currently under investigation.
At the time of publishing, the child is the youngest person in the state to test positive for COVID-19, according to data provided by the Florida Dept. of Health. In all, there are 21 confirmed cases in Palm Beach County compared with 13 on Tuesday.
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Palm Beach County Health Department spokesman Alex Shaw initially told Contact 5 the child, who is a resident of Palm Beach County, tested positive in the state of New York.
Shaw later walked back that statement, stating he had "incorrect information", and clarifying that the child was never in New York.
"I want to reassure parents that in kids, this is a different illness. It's a different manifestation. Kids don't get very symptomatic. Their symptoms are mild," said infectious disease expert, Dr. Leslie Diaz. "The fear of them getting severly ill and ending up in the hospital and dying, is extremely low. I think parents need to worry more about themselves and getting exposed from their children."
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Dr. Diaz, who practices out of her own office in North Palm Beach, assured Contact 5 that parents should help their children follow the same protocols as adults.
"They need to wash their hands. I know kids do not like to do that very often, so you have to be after them consistently to get them to wash their hands very frequently."
Contact 5 reached out to Palm Beach County School District media representatives to see if they had been notified about the local juvenile case. Spokesperson Julie Houston Triste said she could not confirm if the child was a student in the Palm Beach County school system, citing privacy laws.
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Contact 5 has followed up to see if the school district would notify parents, teachers and staff in the event of a student testing positive for coronavirus, but we are still waiting to hear back from them.
According to the Florida Dept. of Health, there are currently 328 cases of coronavirus in the state of Florida, and eight deaths. The latest fatality was identified Wednesday night -- a person in Clay County who had previously confirmed as testing positive.
Data also shows another child testing positive for the virus: a 17-year-old out of Hillsborough County.
"This kind of throws a wrench into everything," said Dr. Diaz. "It kind of solidifies the fact that children can be more [of a carrier] than we think they are."
Follow Merris Badcock on Twitter for updates as they happen.