AN eight-week-old baby with COVID-19 has tragically died at John Hunter Children's Hospital in NSW's Hunter Valley.
The Newcastle Herald understands the child, who had no known underlying conditions, contracted COVID-19 and died about three weeks ago. Further investigations are required to determine whether the virus played a role in the infant's death.
NSW Health has referred the case to the Coroner to do a post mortem and carry out genetic testing.
A Hunter New England Health spokesperson confirmed a young infant had "sadly passed away" at a local hospital in December.
"The child had tested positive for COVID-19," the spokesperson said.
"Given uncertainties as to the cause of death, the case has been referred to the Coroner. It would be inappropriate to comment further while the Coroner investigates this tragic death. We offer our sincere condolences to the family who we remain in contact with and continue to support."
It comes after a COVID-positive South Australian toddler died at the end of December, 2021.
State Premier Steven Marshall said that case had been referred to the South Australian Coroner, and an investigation would determine whether COVID-19 was the cause of death.
Hunter hospital staff have previously told the Newcastle Herald that while the vast majority of children and adults would "probably" have a mild illness with COVID-19, they could not predict who might get severely ill.
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One Hunter New England Health staff member - who does not have permission to speak to the media - said with school going back shortly, they were expecting a surge in COVID cases and outbreaks.
"In the last couple of weeks last year we had multiple school closures in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie because we were getting multiple cases in schools," the staff member said.
"Now that the policies have changed and schools will remain open, we will obviously get a much, much larger number of cases.
"It is pretty important that everyone is prepared for the added stress that's going to come with that on the health system."
The staff member urged people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and get their booster shot.