4-year-old girl dies shortly after testing positive for COVID-19 in Galveston County, officials say

Kali Cook died in her sleep within a day of her positive test

Pictured is Kali Cook. (Courtesy of Karra Harwood) (KPRC)

GALVESTON COUNTY – As COVID-19 cases are continuing to surge nationwide and in the state of Texas, Galveston County is reporting its youngest COVID-19 related death.

Kali Cook, 4, died in her sleep shortly after testing positive for COVID-19, her family confirmed Thursday to KPRC, KSAT’s sister station.

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Karra Harwood, Kali’s mother, told KPRC that within a day of Kali’s positive test, she succumbed to the virus.

“I just wanted everybody to know that it happened so fast,” Harwood said. “By 2 a.m. [Kali] started to run a fever. My mom came down and asked my fiancee if he could help her take some medicine. We gave her some medicine and by 7 a.m. she was gone.”

Karra and other members of her family have also tested positive for COVID-19, shortly after Kali’s positive result. She also confirmed her family was not vaccinated.

“I got tested for COVID and became positive. I tried to quarantine myself from them. We have a two-story home. They were upstairs and I was downstairs,” Harwood told KPRC. “My 5-month-old baby even has it. I’ve taken him to the hospital every night since because I feel like they’re not getting better, and I’m terrified.”

On Thursday, the Galveston County Health District confirmed Kali’s death was the first COVID-19 related death of a child in the area.

KPRC reports that medical examiners also determined her cause of death was from the virus.

However, health officials said they wouldn’t count Kali’s death as a COVID-19 death until the autopsy was completed, which began around 1 p.m., Friday.

“[They told me] she did die because of Covid, but they are doing an autopsy to see if there are any underlying medical conditions that could have caused her to go so fast,” Harwood told KPRC.

As the Delta variant is accounting for the majority of COVID-19 cases nationwide, and with children under the age of 12 still not eligible to receive a vaccine, the Galveston County Local Health Authority said it’s not surprising that more children are testing positive.

“Now we’re seeing our largest group of people with COVID is children under 10. So the fact that we’re getting more and more children under 10 getting COVID, it shouldn’t be surprising that some of them are getting sick. Some of them are getting in the hospital and some dying. So in that way, it’s not a surprise,” Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County Local Health Authority, said. “It’s very sad. It’s very sobering. I hope that this will be an opportunity for people to start putting away the anger that they have about COVID and realize that this is serious.”

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Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.