Lancaster 17-year-old with no underlying health conditions dies from COVID-19

FOX 4 News Dallas-Fort Worth

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LANCASTER, Texas – A Lancaster 17-year-old is the city’s first COVID-19-related death.

Lancaster ISD identified the girl on Tuesday as 17-year-old Jameela Dirrean-Emoni Barber, a rising senior. Health officials say she died in the ER before she could be admitted to a hospital. She did not have any known underlying health conditions.

School officials told FOX 4 Jameela was feeling sick on Friday. She called her teacher to tell her she wasn’t feeling well and was sorry her assignment would be late. As soon as she felt better, she told the teacher she would turn in her assignment. She died the next day at the hospital.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family as they process the loss of their loved one. It is devastating to see the havoc this virus has put on our community both young and old,” Lancaster Mayor Clyde Harston said in a news release. “We will continue to pray for the family and the safety of our residents during this difficult time.”

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Although Gov. Greg Abbott announced a stay-at-home order for the state will expire at the end of April and places like restaurants, stores and theaters will begin to reopen on May 1, Lancaster’s mayor strongly encouraged people to do it safely.

“We encourage you to support our local businesses, and to continue taking precautionary measures like social distancing of 6 feet, wearing face coverings, avoid touching your face and washing your hands often,” city officials said.

Jameela was a senior at Lancaster High School and was an active member of JROTC and a National Honor Society inductee.

“Her absence leaves us with fond memories, and the unexplainable sadness of a life gone too soon,” said Lancaster ISD Superintendent Dr. Elijah Granger. “While we will strive to move forward, this day in our district is marked by pain and despair. In our journey ahead, we are committed to ensuring that her memory lives on throughout our district.”

A spokesperson for the city says the only people Jameela is known to have recent contact with is her family.

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