A 4th-grade girl died while sleeping after she tested positive for COVID-19.
Texas girl died after mother tucked her into bed
Makenzie Gongora's family members want to raise awareness that COVID-19 can also be potentially serious for children.
In the early hours of February 2, nine-year-old Makenzie Gongora of San Antonio, Texas, died suddenly after her mother, Kristle Gongora, had tucked her into bed. Members on both sides of her family suggest she died three days after testing positive for COVID-19 in TODAY interviews.
Erica Gongora of Austin, Texas, Makenzie's father's girlfriend, told TODAY that Makenzie complained of getting a very severe headache and stomach ache. At the same time, she was in out-school care on January 29. The after-school care center took her temperature, and they pointed out that she had a fever.
According to Makenzie's maternal aunt, Victoria Southworth of Boonville, Missouri, Makenzie's mom took her to the Brooke Army Medical Center to have a COVID-19 test, strep test, and flu test later that day. The COVID-19 result was positive, while the strep and flu tests came out negative.
Gongora told TODAY that the doctors told her sister-in-law to take Makenzie home, make her comfortable, and check her temperature. However, if any other major issues occurred, she can go ahead and carry the 4th-grade girl back to the hospital.
At that point, the girl has no labored breathing or anything like it, as per Gongora. Both aunts say that Makenzie's symptoms keep coming and going over the weekend but that everything was manageable and she did everything right.
Gongora recalled that on February 1, Makenzie started to complain that she was feeling very exhausted during night hours. Early that evening, she went to sleep. She said, "My sister-in-law later checked her at night and realized she wasn't breathing anymore and couldn't find a pulse."
The family of Makenzie revealed that they were not aware of any underlying problems she may have had but noticed that for her size, Makenzie was a little short. The 4th-grade girl's school district in Northside, Texas, discussed her death in a statement on behalf of her school, Scarborough Elementary.
"The loss of fourth grader Makenzie Gongora saddens the Scarborough Elementary School community," the statement said. "Our thoughts during this very difficult time are with her family."
Her family remembered Makenzie as a vibrant young lady who was full of life. Southworth launched a GoFundMe account soon after Makenzie's death, which has since raised over $60,000. She died on her father's birthday, Nathan Gongora, according to the fundraiser.
The 4th grader girl's body could be back after autopsy reports
Makenzie's body will be shipped back to San Antonio until the autopsy reports come in. Her family plans to bury her at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery after completing their quarantine, FinTech Zoom reported. For purposes relevant to COVID-19, TODAY confirmed that Makenzie was not willing to be an organ donor.
If anyone has an untreated COVID-19 infection or suffers from it, they are disqualified from being an organ, eye, and tissue donor, according to LifeSource, an organ donation non-profit per LifeSource.
Makenzie's aunt wants her story to raise awareness that while kids usually don't have severe COVID-19 disease, they can get severely sick.