A child who contracted COVID-19 has died in Northern Virginia, health officials said Thursday.
The Virginia Department of Health said it is the first reported death of someone with COVID-19 who was 9 years old or younger in the Northern Region health district. The child's exact age was not provided for privacy concerns.
That health district includes the city of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, Loudoun County, the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park and Prince William County.
Health officials didn't release any further information about the child.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this child for their tragic loss,” State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver said in a news release.
“Across the country, COVID-19 continues to cause illness and death. The Delta variant is now the most predominant strain across the country, and it spreads more easily from one person to another," Oliver said. "We urge everyone to take precautions to protect themselves and those around them. Everyone aged 12 and older who is eligible to get vaccinated is encouraged to do so as soon as possible.”
The state health department encouraged residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, wear a mask in indoor public places, even if vaccinated, and practice physical distancing.
For further protection from the virus, health officials say to avoid large gatherings and crowds, indoor spaces with poor ventilation, wash hands often, clean and disinfect objects frequently and to stay home when sick.
Children, many of whom cannot get the vaccine, are being hospitalized in record numbers across the country as the delta variant continues it's surge. Doctors warned it could get worse as schools reopen.
More than 180,175 child COVID-19 cases were reported in the U.S. from Aug. 12 to Aug. 19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"After declining in early summer, child cases have increased exponentially, with over a four-fold increase the past month, rising from about 38,000 cases the week ending July 22nd to 180,000 the past week," AAP says on its website.
As of Thursday, Virginia reported more than 570,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 30,000 of those people are hospitalized. Nearly 10,000 people who were confirmed to have the disease have died in the state.