Caldwell County 14-year-old battling COVID-19 flown to Asheville hospital

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — A 14-year-old in Caldwell County battling COVID-19 has been flown to Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville after her oxygen level got dangerously low.

Zoey Taylor is a freshman at South Caldwell High School. She has been in the hospital getting oxygen to help her breathe, but that’s not her only symptom.

“She had fever. She has body aches. She couldn’t keep anything down,” her mother Chong Taylor said.

Her mom said Zoey initially tested negative for COVID-19 at the beginning of September but when her symptoms persisted, the family took her to the emergency room, where she tested positive.

The school district started the year mask-optional but the superintendent reversed that decision after seeing a spike in cases. The health department is now saying more than a third of all new positive cases in the county are children 18 and younger.

“Our report on Friday, we saw 37% of cases among children 18 and under, which is huge,” said Paige Counts with the county health department.

According to the health department, 100 children tested positive between Wednesday and Friday. The school district said 1,000 students are quarantined because of the spread of the virus.

Zoey’s mother said even though masks were optional, her daughter did wear one. She believes children should be in the classroom but precautions should be taken to keep them safe.

“It does affect the kids a lot. Seeing their friends as well out, I think it’s scary. It’s finally hitting home that, ‘Oh, you know, I could be next.’ And not only that, if kids are getting sick, they’re coming home especially if they have siblings … their siblings are getting sick,” Chong Taylor said.

Counselors at South Caldwell High School have reached out to the family to express their concern and ask if there is anything they can do. Zoey’s mother is suggesting the district spend a day each week cleaning its schools.

Zoey’s mother also started a GoFundMe to help with her daughter’s medical bills.

(WATCH BELOW: Teen gets antibody treatment to fight off COVID-19)