(CNN) — Health officials in Houston have confirmed the city’s first pediatric COVID-19 death of a youth who did not have underlying heath conditions.
The Houston Health Department (HHD) announced Thursday that a male between 10 and 19 died in late July at a hospital.
The victim was not vaccinated, HHD said in a statement.
“While he tested positive for COVID-19, it’s currently unknown if he was infected with a variant of the virus,” the statement said.
HHD did not release any other information because of privacy laws.
Six other pediatric COVID deaths have been reported in Houston, but those victims all had underlying conditions, HHD said.
“This tragedy serves as a reminder that children, even without underlying health conditions, can get seriously ill and die from COVID-19,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the City of Houston in the statement. “Getting vaccinated is not only about protecting you, it’s about protecting everyone close to you, especially your family, from serious illness and death.”
The number of COVID cases in children has surged in the United States with the return to schools. The week ending Aug.19 saw more than 180,000 cases in children, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine has been fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for people over 16, and the emergency use authorization extends to children as young as 12.
Children under 12 cannot yet get the vaccine.
“On behalf of the City of Houston, I extend my condolences to the boy’s family during their time of grief,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement. “The death of a loved one under any circumstance is heartbreaking, especially when we have the power to slow the spread and save lives. I encourage all eligible Houstonians ages 12 and older to get vaccinated and wear a face mask in large crowds or areas where you cannot socially distance.”
Harris County, which includes Houston, had 1,298 confirmed Covid cases and 35 deaths on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
The county has confirmed 486,701 COVID-19 cases and 7,091 deaths from the virus.