Sumter Co. coroner says report that child died from COVID-19 was wrong

Sumter Co. coroner says report that child died from COVID-19 was wrong

SUMTER, S.C. (WIS) - Two days after state officials said a child in Sumter County died from COVID-19, the county’s coroner said the report was wrong.

Coroner Robbie Baker said his office was not made aware of a child passing from COVID-19, so he reached out to the Department of Health and Environmental Control about it.

DHEC reported Monday that there was a pediatric death confirmed in Sumter County on Sept. 3. A pediatric death is someone who was 17 or younger. (Click here to see DHEC’s report.)

Baker said DHEC looked into the report after he contacted them, and found there was a mistake.

“It caught us completely off guard,” Baker said.

DHEC told Baker the person who died was in their 80s, and not a child at all, he said.

The coroner said it was DHEC’s mistake, but DHEC said it was reported incorrectly to them by a health care facility.

“People don’t need to be in a panic,” Baker said. “Use precautions, use the safety measures that you’ve got in place, but we do not have a death associated with a 3-month-old child.”

DHEC sent the following statement:

"DHEC learned yesterday (Tuesday) that a COVID-19-related pediatric death reported to the agency, which would have been the third pediatric death in the state, was erroneously reported to DHEC as a child, however, the individual was an elderly adult.

Previously, there were two pediatric COVID-19 related deaths reported in the state and that remains the current total."

WIS is working to gain insight on how or why DHEC released the information to the public without further review, since pediatric deaths are very uncommon.

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