Baby born prematurely in Louisiana dies from COVID-19

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The coronavirus pandemic claimed its youngest victim yet in Louisiana on Monday — a baby born prematurely after her mother contracted the disease and was put on a ventilator.

“The baby, because of the extreme prematurity did not survive,” said East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark, who blamed the mother’s COVID-19 disease for putting her into labor.

The girl survived only one day, and the coroner said both he and Louisiana’s state epidemiologist agreed that she belongs in the state’s coronavirus death toll.

Whether the baby had COVID-19 remains under investigation, but Clark said her death is clearly linked to the virus.

If not for her mother’s infection, Clark said, “Likely she would have not gone into preterm labor and there would have been a different outcome. This is an incredibly sad case.”

Clark said the mother was admitted to a hospital on April 1 and remains alive. He provided no details about her condition, and no identifying information. This premature baby wasn’t the first U.S. newborn to die in similar circumstances, he added.

Louisiana’s coronavirus caseload grew Monday to nearly 15,000 people with confirmed infections, about 12 percent of whom are hospitalized. The death toll rose by 35 from a day earlier to at least 512.