4-year-old had COVID but didn't die from it, Galveston County chief medical examiner says

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Saturday, November 20, 2021
4-year-old had COVID but didn't die from it, medical examiner says
Kali Cook's mother said the child died in her sleep back in September, but extensive tests done on Kali's remains show a lot more.

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A four-year-old who died after testing positive for COVID-19 did not die from the virus, a Galveston County's chief medical examiner said.

Kali Cook died in her sleep in September, her mother told our partners at the Houston Chronicle.

But, extensive toxicology testing was done on Kali's remains.

Dr. Erin Barnhart, the chief medical examiner, said tests done on Kali's body were positive for COVID and a couple of other viruses, but it's unclear what caused her death.

"There was no evidence of organ damage associated with the viral infection. So, as I think most of us realize at this point, folks with COVID-19 have a very wide range of symptom severity," Barnhart said. "In this case, based on what her family members were relaying, she did have some symptoms. So she had a fever, for example, but her symptoms didn't seem to be severe. That was corroborated when we did our examination."

The official cause of death has been listed as undetermined.

Barnhart said around 3% of the autopsies she has performed so far this year have been ruled undetermined, and it can be difficult to determine a child's cause of death because they have a limited medical history.

Kali attended K E Little Elementary School in Dickinson ISD.