5-Year-Old Daughter of First Responders Dies of COVID-19 in Michigan

A 5-year-old girl becomes the youngest person and first child to die in Michigan of coronavirus. Three weeks after Skylar Herbert was hospitalized on March 29, her parents made the hardest decision parents can make and had their daughter taken off a ventilator.

Shortly after being taken off of the ventilator, Skylar died. According to The Detroit News, she tested positive for coronavirus but had also developed meningoencephalitis, a rare form of meningitis that caused her brain to swell.

Both of Skylar’s parents are first responders for the city of Detroit.

“We decided to take her off the ventilator today because her improvement had stopped, the doctors told us that it was possible she was brain dead, and we basically just knew she wasn’t coming back to us,” LaVondria Herbert, Skylar’s mom explained.

LaVondria, a Detroit police officer and her husband Ebbie Herbert, a firefighter, first sought medical attention for their daughter on March 23. She had complained about painful and persistent headaches so the parents took her to a pediatrician.

LaVondria and Ebbie’s daughter tested positive for strep throat, but the headaches continued.

After a test for strep throat was returned positive, Skylar was given antibiotics. However, her headaches continued and she began “crying so bad” that LaVondria and Ebbie decided to take their daughter to the emergency room.

At the ER, Skylar was tested for coronavirus and she tested positive.

One day after the diagnosis, Skylar was released from the hospital.

Skylar was released from the hospital a day after she’d received the coronavirus diagnosis, but then her father, Ebbie began experiencing symptoms. The family returned to the ER, but Ebbie’s coronavirus test came back inconclusive.

“Out of nowhere, Skylar began complaining about her head hurting again and then she just threw up,” LaVondria told The Detroit News.

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Skylar was readmitted to the hospital where she was also diagnosed with meningitis.

Back in the hospital, doctors diagnosed Skylar with meningitis and her health quickly began to deteriorate. She was put on a ventilator.

“She was the type of girl that would just run up to you and jump in your arms and hug you,” LaVondria fondly recalled. “It didn’t matter what she was doing, she would stop what she was doing and tell me she loved me like 20 times a day.”

Michigan has the third-highest death count in the country.

“The loss of a child, at any time, under any circumstances, is a tragedy. We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child,” a spokesman for Beaumont Health told People. “We extend our deepest sympathy to Skylar’s family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus.”

According to the Michigan Health Department, there have been 32,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,468 deaths.

“Michigan right now has the third-highest death count in the country. We are the 10th-largest state. As you can deduce, this means we have a uniquely hard issue going on here,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said over the weekend.

Our thoughts are with Skylar’s parents and the city of Detroit.

Before Skylar passed, the youngest person to die from coronavirus in Michigan was 20. We are heartbroken for Skylar’s entire family, but especially her parents who are first responders putting their lives on the line to help others.

While the situation in Michigan and Detroit, specifically is dire, the city was recently referenced by Dr. Deborah Birx, the country’s coronavirus response coordinator, as a model community for testing and social distancing efforts. We certainly hope things continue to improve.

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