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12-year-old from Gage Park dies of COVID-19, marking the youngest Cook County death from the coronavirus

Ernesto Guzmán died as a result of COVID-19 infection with asthma, sleep apnea and Charcot-Marie Tooth Disorder as contributing factors, the medical examiners’ office said.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office reported the first heat-related death of the season in the county on July, 23, 2020.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office reported the youngest death from COVID-19 on May 14, 2020.
Sun-Times file photo

A 12-year-old boy who died early Thursday is the youngest known person to die from a COVID-19 infection in Cook County, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office

Ernesto Guzmán, from Gage Park, died at 12:18 a.m. at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according Cook County spokeswoman Natalia Derevyanny.

He died from pneumonia and a COVID-19 infection with asthma, sleep apnea and Charcot-Marie Tooth disorder as contributing factors, Derevyanny said.

Charcot-Marie Tooth disorder is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by weakness and muscle loss in the lower legs, hands and feet, according to the American Medical Association.

At 12 years old, Guzmán was seven years younger than the next youngest confirmed victim of COVID-19 in Cook County. A 19-year-old man from south suburban Riverdale died April 10 from respiratory failure and a COVID-19 infection, the medical examiner’s office said.

Cook County has also recorded two 20 year olds who died from the coronavirus: A man in Park Forest who died on April 25, and another man who died April 14 in West Rogers Park on the Northwest Side. At least 13 other people in the 20s have died from COVID-19 in Cook County.

In late March, Illinois health officials said an infant from Chicago died after testing positive for COVID-19 — the first infant in the U.S. to die with the disease — but that further testing was needed to confirm a cause of death.

Autopsy results for the infant, a 9-month-old boy from the South Loop, are still pending, Derevyanny said Thursday. The medical examiner’s office is awaiting test results from a sample currently being tested by the Centers for Disease Control, Derevyanny said.

On Thursday, the medical examiner’s office announced another 126 deaths from COVID-19 in the past day, raising the county’s total death count to 2,756.

The death toll in Illinois stands at 3,792, state health officials said Wednesday.