GCHD & ME offices backtrack, now say they won’t count death of 4-year-old as COVID-19 death until autopsy is complete


GALVESTON COUNTY – Bacliff mother warns other parents to take COVID seriously after heartbreaking death.

Karra Harwood has lost her baby daughter, Kali Cook, 4.

“She was amazing. She was beautiful, but not the type to want knots in her hair. She prefers to be in the backyard to catch frogs, ”said Harwood.

Kali was full of life, with a bold personality that was known throughout the city.

“She brightened up any room she walked into,” Harwood said.

However, Harwood said his message to parents is to be careful and cautious. Harwood is devastated. Kali tested positive for COVID-19, and within one day she died in her sleep.

Harwood says she has tested positive for COVID-19 and her other children as well.

“I have been tested for COVID and have become positive. I tried to quarantine myself from them. We have a two-story house. They were upstairs and I was downstairs, ”Harwood said.

With five children, Harwood said they had done their best and stayed home.

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“I just wanted everyone to know it happened so fast,” Harwood said. “At 2 o’clock in the morning [Kali] started to have a fever. My mom came downstairs and asked my fiancee if he could help her take some medicine. We gave her some medicine and by 7 am she was gone.

Harwood said that the day before, Kali looked perfectly fine. However, COVID had already spread to his home.

“My 5 month old baby even has them. I’ve taken him to the hospital every night since because I don’t feel like they are getting any better and I’m terrified, ”Harwood said.

Now she is warning parents to closely monitor their children’s condition and to wear PPE.

“This is serious, and we never could have believed it could happen,” Harwood said.

The Galveston County Health District on Thursday said Kali was the first death of a child from COVID-19 in Galveston County. Forensic pathologists, also on Thursday, determined the cause of death was due to COVID. However, on Friday, the Galveston County Health District and the Galveston Medical Examiner said they would not consider Kali’s death a death from Covid-19 until the autopsy is complete. John Florence, the lead investigator at the Galveston Examiner’s Office, confirmed that the autopsy began at 1 p.m. on Friday.

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“So what I’m going to tell you is that [the child] has Covid, but the real cause of death is pending the autopsy and all the tests we call, ”said Florence.

The Galveston County Health District and the ME office issued a joint statement:

An autopsy was performed today by the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office on the young child who died this week and tested positive for COVID-19.

We will not have the final cause of death until all the results are known from today’s autopsy. We will update the public with more information as it becomes available.

Erin Barnhart, MD

Chief Medical Examiner, County Galveston

Philip Keizer, MD

Galveston County Local Health Authority

KPRC has contacted the Galveston County Chief Medical Examiner to determine why a cause of death was confirmed before the autopsy was completed and has yet to receive a response.

KPRC also contacted Kali’s mother who said on Friday that she called the ME office and the office said something else to Harwood.

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“[They told me] she died from Covid, but they do an autopsy to see if there is any underlying medical conditions that could have made her go so fast, ”Harwood said.

Harwood said she wanted to expose her case as well.

“I did not murder my daughter,” Harwood said. “There are people who get vaccinated who still get Covid and they can still spread Covid. “

KPRC contacted the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office who said they were investigating the death but saw no signs of foul play.

The Galveston County local health authority said child deaths from COVID were not surprising due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

“Now we see that our largest group of people with COVID are children under the age of 10. So the fact that we have more and more children under the age of 10 contracting COVID, it shouldn’t be surprising that some of them are getting sick. Some of them are hospitalized and others die. So that way, it’s no surprise, ”said Dr. Philip Keizer, of the local Galveston County Health Authority. “It’s very sad. It’s very sobering. I hope this will be an opportunity for people to start putting aside the anger they have about COVID and to realize that it is serious. “

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As for Kali, Harwood said she was determined to keep her memory alive.

“No one could ever forget it, ever. She will never be forgotten, ”said Harwood.

Harwood added that she wished she had taken COVID-19 more seriously. His family has not been vaccinated.

Relatives set up a GoFundMe for Kali’s family and funeral expenses.

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