A 17-year-old who died on Tuesday after testing positive for coronavirus was denied medical treatment because he did not have health insurance, according to Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, California.
Staff at an unnamed urgent care facility told the teen to try getting treatment from a hospital in Antelope Valley, the mayor said in a video. Parris said the teen went into cardiac arrest on his way to the hospital.
“But by the time he got there, it was too late,” Parris said.
Parris said the teen was sick for a few days prior to his death and that the teen had no previous health conditions.
“On the Friday before he died, he was healthy,” Parris said. “He was socializing with his friends. By Wednesday, he was dead.”
Although the teen tested positive for coronavirus, Los Angeles County health officials are no longer including his death in the tally of deaths due to coronavirus until they determine the precise cause of death, the Mercury News reports.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said the teen’s death was removed from the official U.S. death toll.
Ferrer said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating to see if there is another explanation for the teen’s death. She said there were “extenuating circumstances that pointed to an alternative diagnosis, as well.”
“Our hearts go out to the family as they too await further clarification as the cause of death,” Ferrer said.
On Friday, Los Angeles County reported 1,216 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths.
Lancaster city officials did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
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