A child aged under three has died in South Australia after testing positive for COVID-19.
SA Health says the exact cause of death is still being investigated, with the case also referred to the state coroner.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the child was previously well and had developed some mild respiratory symptoms.
The death is the third in SA in a child under five, the group that cannot yet be vaccinated, since the start of the pandemic.
“It is very tragic to have to report this to South Australians today. My deepest sympathy to this child’s family,” Professor Spurrier told reporters on Thursday.
“I can’t say anything more about this case because it is entirely confidential and as indicated we have reported this case to the coroner.”
But Prof Spurrier said deaths in young children remained rare compared to the number of cases.
Since November, SA has reported more than 89,000 COVID-19 infections in children under 11.
“So it is a very rare thing to happen. Usually, COVID in young children is very mild,” she said.
“But when you have so many people infected as we have in South Australia, even though Omicron is not as severe compared to other forms of COVID, unfortunately, we do have this small number of deaths.”
The child’s death came as SA reported 2983 new infections along with six deaths, taking the toll since the start of the pandemic to 491.
There are 222 people in hospital with the virus, including 10 children. Eight people are being treated in intensive care.