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4-year-old Texas girl with COVID who died remembered as 'funny and sassy'

Kali Cook's mother, Karra Harwood, said she now regrets not getting vaccinated. “I was one of the people that was anti, I was against it. Now, I wish I never was.”

BACLIFF, Texas — Emergency crews were called back to a home in Bacliff Friday where the Galveston County Health District said a little girl died from COVID-19 earlier this week.

Karra Harwood said she called 911 today because she was concerned about her infant daughter's breathing. 

Harwood told The Galveston County Daily News that her older daughter, 4-year-old Kali Cook, had a fever overnight Tuesday and passed away in her sleep a few hours later. 

“She was so funny and sassy,” Kali's mother told the Daily News. “She wasn’t your average little girl. She’d rather play with worms and frogs than wear bows. She was just so pretty and full of life.”

Harwood said she was the first to test positive for COVID on Monday and then Kali and her other children got sick. She now regrets her decision not to get vaccinated. 

“I was one of the people that was anti, I was against it,” she said. “Now, I wish I never was.”

Galveston County said Thursday that Kali was the first pediatric death there. On  Friday, the medical examiner's office had not released an official cause of death.

Kali was a pre-K student in Dickinson ISD but health officials don't believe she got COVID at school.

"But we’ve investigated that and do not believe that this is related to her being in school,” said Galveston County Local Health Authority Dr. Philip Keiser.

"Most kids do absolutely fine," said Dr. Keiser. "In fact, many kids are asymptomatic."  "But if your child is showing some sort of symptoms, it’s a good idea to take them to be seen.”

In a statement, DISD called the situation heartbreaking and said Kali last attended pre-K at K.E. Little Elementary on Sept. 1.

According to Harwood her daughter had no diagnosed immune disorders or other health conditions but she did tend to get sicker than her siblings.

Neighbor Michael Steele, who has two children of his own, didn’t realize the circumstances of Kali's death.

"That’s really crazy, surprising,” said neighbor Michael Steele. "I just like to keep to ourselves. It’s a scary thought to think everyone out there is getting sick.”

Galveston County Health District, CPS and others continue to investigate.

CPS said it's not unusual for them to investigate when a child dies. 

Updated information from GCHD:

On Thursday, we confirmed the county's first COVID-19 related death in a child 0-10 years. Our investigation is ongoing. At this time, it is unknown if she had any pre-existing medical conditions. The health district will report out this death on our COVID-19 dashboard once our investigation is complete.

Dickinson ISD's letter to families and employees:

Dear Gator Family,

This afternoon, the Galveston County Health District completed an investigation and released a statement confirming a COVID-related death in a Galveston County child.  It is heartbreaking to inform you that this child last attended K.E. Little Elementary on September 1.  DISD did not receive prior notification of COVID positivity or exposure.  The Galveston County Health District also stated they do not believe the student contracted COVID from school.

This is a very difficult time, and our thoughts, prayers, and support are extended to this family.  A Go Fund Me has been set up to assist the family with expenses.  If you would like to help, please contact K.E. Little Elementary.

Carla Voelkel

Superintendent

Dickinson ISD

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