Official: Kansas middle school student died of COVID-19

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A state education official said Wednesday that a Kansas middle school student has died of COVID-19.

The child’s death would be the first reported COVID-19 death of someone aged 10 to 17 in Kansas and only the third reported for someone under 18.

Education Commissioner Randy Watson disclosed the death during a Zoom meeting of a task force on COVID-19 safety measures in public schools appointed by Gov. Laura Kelly.

“On an extremely sad note, I was just informed … that we did have a student, a middle school student, pass away of COVID just in the last maybe day,” Watson told the group. He provided no further details.

Matt Lara, a spokesman for the state health department, said the report is being investigated and health officials have sought medical records from facilities that cared for the child. No other information will be released immediately to protect the identity of the child and the family, he said.

Meanwhile, the health department reported 11 new COVID-19 clusters at schools. The department’s data showed 72 active school outbreaks across Kansas, with 537 cases and one hospitalization, The Topeka Capital-Journal <a target=”&mdash;blank” href=””>reported</a>.

The heath department’s presentation to the governor’s workgroup noted the “drastic increase in outbreaks this week (is) likely due in part to improved reporting.”