A 15-year-old girl who was born with Down Syndrome and survived cancer died from Covid-19 after she and her mother were diagnosed with the virus.
Alexa Rose Veit’s death was announced by Travis Holder, the director of Kentucky’s Ballard County Emergency Management, in a press release.
“This is a story of a fighter, even though I did not know this individual personally her story has touched my heart and has kept me awake at night in fear for other Ballard Countians,” Mr Holder said.
Born in 2005 with special needs, Mr Holder said Alexa was described as a “social butterfly” with an infectious smile and no filter.
She attended Ballard Memorial High School, where she was a member of the choir and her church youth group.
On July 2019, at just 14 years old, Alexa was diagnosed with leukaemia.
“Although Alexa was drained from the treatments that she had to undergo and the long stays in the hospital her smile, laugh and determination never left,” Mr Holder said.
“Alexa fought a hard and enduring fight, and against some odds that were thrown at her achieved victory. On August 27, 2019 Alexa was considered to be in remission from the leukaemia.”
However on October 26, Alexa’s mother was called to pick the 15-year-old up from school as she was not feeling well. Alexa got a routine Covid test as she was having a procedure in the coming days.
The next day, Alexa’s mother also began to feel ill and she too went and got tested. Both Alexa and her mother were confirmed to have Covid-19.
Alexa’s mother was hospitalised and put on a ventilator just a short time after she was diagnosed. The teenager’s grandparents were also diagnosed with Covid-19 and hospitalised.
Mr Holder explained Alexa was displaying mild symptoms and at first was “doing fairly well”, but her health deteriorated as the days went on and was eventually flown to Nashville to be in the care of her regular doctors.
Alexa’s older sister Kelley had recently recovered from Covid-19 and remained by her side in Nashville, while her mother had no idea what she was going through as she was fighting for her life on a ventilator.
The 15-year-old was eventually placed on a ventilator and doctors decided there was nothing else they could do for her.
“The decision was made that they needed to get her mother to Nashville,” Mr Holder explained.
“On Saturday the 14th Alexa’s mother was released from the hospital in Paducah and rushed to Nashville to be by Alexa’s side.”
The next day Alexa died.
Calls for community to take Covid ‘seriously’
Mr Holder said although Alexa had pre-exisiting health conditions, she was just 15 years old and the community had to come to the realisation Covid-19 was real.
“This isn’t political, it’s not something that ‘has always been here’ it is real. We must start taking the precautions seriously,” he said.
“There is not anything that we can do to get rid of Covid-19, but it is our duty as citizens to do everything that we can to reduce the spread to our fellow man.”
In light of the second Covid death in Ballard County and the first death of a school-aged child, Mr Holder asked for people to think of their family and neighbours.
“I ask you even though you may not like masks or think that they don’t work to wear one,” he said.
“Wear it out of respect for your fellow Ballard Countians that can’t take the risk of catching this virus.”
He asked for people to consider if it was worth risking transmission of Covid-19 as the holiday season approaches.
“While you think about it ask yourself, ‘Is it worth it?’, is it worth risking it and them not being here next year,” Mr Holder said.
“I am not asking anyone not to celebrate Thanksgiving, I am simply asking that you be considerate to those whom are most vulnerable.”
Coronavirus cases have continued to surge in the US, according to Johns Hopkins data, there have been more than 11 million cases and 250,000 deaths in the US since the start of the pandemic.
According to Kentucky’s state data, Ballard County has seen an “accelerated” number of cases.
All together, the state has had more than 150,000 confirmed cases and 1760 deaths.
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