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13-year-old dies of complications with COVID-19 in Floyd County, coroner says

Porter Helm's father reportedly found his son "blue" and had stopped breathing.

FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. — A 13-year-old has died of COVID-19, the Floyd County coroner confirmed Tuesday.

Floyd County Coroner Harold Proctor said Porter Helms was pronounced dead just before 6 a.m. He says the boy was coughing and had some trouble breathing around 3 a.m., so his dad gave him some more medicine. 

Just two hours later, Porter's father went to check on him after noticing it got quiet. That's when he reportedly found his son was "blue" and had stopped breathing.

The fire department and emergency medical services responded Proctor said, trying to give the boy CPR and rushed him to a medical center in Rome, Georgia. 

He was pronounced dead around 5:55 a.m.

According to Proctor, the emergency room called the coroner's office to investigate. After examining Porter, his medical records, and interviewing the family, Proctor said the investigation revealed the 13-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 a week prior but never recovered.

His cause of death is listed as "respiratory failure due to COVID-19," according to Proctor. 

Floyd County Schools confirmed Porter was a student enrolled with the district at Coosa High School. In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the school system called his death "a tragedy."

"We extend our deepest sympathy to this child’s family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus," the school district wrote.

Proctor said Porter had no extensive medical history or preexisting conditions. 

"He succumbed from the illness," he said.

There is no indication of his vaccination status at this time. 

Here's the full statement from the school district: 

"The loss of a child, at any time, under any circumstances, is a tragedy. We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to this child’s family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus. Because we know this will impact our school community emotionally, we encourage parents to be emotionally sensitive and prepare to offer support to their child or children during this difficult time."

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