8-year-old is first child to die from COVID-19 complications in NC

DURHAM, N.C. — An 8-year-old Durham girl has died after a fight with the coronavirus, making her the first child who has died from the virus in the state.

Aurea Soto Morales, a second grader at Creekside Elementary School, died Monday after she was hospitalized at UNC Hospital for severe complications from the coronavirus.

Family members said they do not know where or how Aurea contracted the virus because they mostly stayed inside their home.

They said she started feeling sick last week and was rushed to the hospital after having a seizure.

In a GoFundMe, which has raised more than $30,000, organizers said COVID-19 caused swelling her brain. She later went into a coma and passed away a few days later.

She was the first child to die from COVID-19 related complications in North Carolina.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to this child’s family,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. “While most COVID-19 cases in children are not severe, this is a tragic reminder for all of us that COVID-19 can be a serious illness for anyone."

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As of Thursday, more than 950 COVID-19-related deaths have been reported in North Carolina, with nearly 800 of those being in people over 65 years of age.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 1% of COVID-19 related deaths reported nationally have been in children 17 and younger.

Aurea’s father, mother and sister have also contracted the virus. They are under quarantine for another week.

Her elementary school is planning a tribute in her honor.

Creekside Elementary School released the following statement:

“Our whole Creekside community’s heart is broken over the loss of one of our wonderful students, who was a shining light wherever she went. Even though we must remain physically distant due to COVID-19, we are still reaching out to support our children, families, and staff during this difficult time. We ask that the family and our Creekside community be given privacy so that we may have the space and time to grieve.”