The confusion-addled case of a 17-year-old boy's death in California, once linked to COVID-19 complications, added another facet of frustration this week when Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris revealed the teen had been turned away from an urgent care clinic for not having insurance.
"By now, most people have heard that we lost a 17-year-old boy," Parris said in a video address shared Wednesday. "There are a lot of rumors going around about how he died and what the circumstances were, so I’d like to clarify a few things."
From there, Parris noted that the teen had been sick "for a few days" with no previously determined underlying health conditions.
"The Friday before he died, he was healthy," he said. "He was socializing with his friends. By Wednesday, he was dead."
On that day, Parris said, the teen went to an urgent care clinic but was not treated there due to lack of insurance. Instead, he was sent to Antelope Valley (AV) hospital, on the way to which he went into cardiac arrest.
"They were able to revive him and keep him alive for about six hours, but by the time he got there it was too late," Parris said.
Initially reported as a precedent-setting tragedy amid ongoing COVID-19 containment efforts, the teen's death has since been confirmed by both the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the CDC to be under re-evaluation.
"There were extenuating circumstances that pointed to an alternative diagnosis, as well," an LACDPH rep said earlier this week.
This week, the U.S. became the country with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world.