'It doesn't matter what age you are': First responders' warning after 5-year-old daughter dies from COVID-19

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Skylar Herbert is believed to be the youngest person in Michigan to die from COVID-19. (Images via TODAY, courtesy of the Herbert Family).

The daughter of two first responders is believed to be the youngest person in Michigan to die from COVID-19.

Police officer LaVondria Herbert and her husband, Ebbie, are warning families to take the novel pandemic seriously following the death of their five-year-old daughter, Skylar.

Herbert and her husband, who works as a firefighter in Detroit, Mich., said they were shocked when their daughter contracted the virus. Skylar reportedly had been in isolation and hadn’t left the house in several weeks — and neither parent had tested positive for the virus.

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According to The Detroit News, Skylar visited her pediatrician on March 23 after complaining of a headache that wouldn’t go away. The Herberts were given a prescription for antibiotics after Skylar tested positive for strep throat, and sent home. That night, Herbert said Skylar could not sleep and complained that she was in pain.

Skylar Herbert, 5, died after contracting COVID-19. (Image via TODAY, courtesy of the Herbert Family).

“We called the doctor back, and they told us that it takes the medication 48 hours to kick in and to give it some time, but because she was crying so bad,” Herbert said. “I told my husband we needed to take her to emergency because I just didn’t know.”

Skylar was taken to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. where she was tested for COVID-19. Herbert said, doctors informed them that her headache and fever were often symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus, but sent them home a day later.

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Six hours later, the Herberts went to Beaumont Hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich. after Ebbie began coughing and experiencing shortness of breath.

“Me and Skylar waited in the car, but out of nowhere, Skylar began complaining about her head hurting again and then she just threw up,” Herbert said.

Despite shivering, Skylar registered a fever of 100 degrees before she began to have a seizure. Ebbie was leaving the emergency room when he witnessed Skylar seizing in the car.

Police officer LaVondria Herbert and husband Ebbie, a fire fighter were shocked to learn their 5-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID-19. (Image via NBC News).

“‘(I told her) Skylar, look at your daddy, Skylar, look at your daddy,” he said. “She came out of the seizure and me and her mother ran back into the emergency room.”

Doctors immediately transferred Skylar back to the Royal Oak campus where she was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU). A lumbar puncture confirmed that the bubbly, fearless girl had developed a rare form of meningitis and brain swelling. On April 3, Skylar was put on a ventilator as a precaution.

After two weeks on a ventilator, the Herberts made the difficult decision to remove Skylar from life support. Doctors had advised them that their only child had made no signs of improvement, and was potentially brain dead. She died on April 19.

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“We basically just knew she wasn’t coming back to us,” Herbert said

Now, the Herberts are sharing their story in hopes that it will show people just how dangerous COVID-19 can be. They want the public to know that it can happen to anyone.

“This is something that has gotten out of hand, and we need to do something about it, and that's the reason why we're doing this interview," Ebbie told NBC News. “To let people know that it doesn't matter what age you are, it's coming for you... It doesn't care what colour you are. It doesn't care about your nationality. It doesn't care about your political preference. It's just a monster that is trying to destroy whatever is in its way.”

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