Principal: NHMS community “devastated and heartbroken” over student’s death

Expressions of grief and condolence tonight over the news that a 14-year-old girl from Habersham County has died with COVID-19.

The Habersham County Coroner’s Office on Saturday confirmed her death. The girl, who was Hispanic, was a student at North Habersham Middle School. She passed away in an Atlanta hospital Friday afternoon, according to Coroner Kasey McEntire.

“I’m not sure what the doctor’s ruling is going to be as far as the final cause of death,” he says. “She had a lot of underlying issues before being diagnosed.”

The teen was diagnosed with COVID when she was admitted to the hospital back in July. She is the youngest person in Habersham County to die with the virus.

“The North Habersham Middle School community is devastated and heartbroken to learn of the passing of one of our students,” says principal Adam Bagwell. “My heart goes out to this student’s family, friends, and teachers. This student brought such joy to our school and she will be deeply missed by all.”

“Our hearts are broken by this very sad news and we will be praying for the family of this student,” says Habersham School Superintendent Matthew Cooper in a statement issued late Saturday. “Out of respect for the privacy of the student’s family, we do not plan to offer additional details or comments regarding this tragic loss in our school community.”

Youngest to die in the state

On Friday, state public health officials confirmed that a 7-year-old boy in Chatham County died with COVID-19. He was African American and had no underlying medical conditions. According to the Chatham County Coroner, the child had a seizure, fell in the shower, and was unresponsive. The coroner says seizures are a common response to the virus, WTOC News reports.

At least 49 Habersham County residents with COVID-19 have died since March. Until Friday, the youngest was a 34-year-old Asian male with no underlying medical conditions.

Habersham County has the second-highest virus-related death toll in Northeast Georgia behind only Hall County. From early to mid-July, the number of deaths in the region slowed, according to figures released by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). By July 20, deaths began increasing following a summer surge of new COVID cases.

In the past month, DPH data shows that 26 Hall County residents and 8 Habersham County residents have died with the virus.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this pandemic,” says McEntire, “and we continue to ask folks to social distance as much as they can.”

This article has been updated with comments from school officials 

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