Family identifies 17-year-old Norfolk girl as first child to die from COVID-19 in Eastern Virginia

Virginia

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health reported its first child COVID-19 death in Virginia’s Eastern health region on Thursday, which WAVY has confirmed was a Norfolk teenager.

VDH said the child died from complications with COVID-19. Virginia so far has reported 8 child deaths out of the 11,546 total to date; two deaths in the 0-9 age group and six deaths in the 10-19 age group.

The first child in the commonwealth to die from COVID-19 was a teenager in the Southside Health District back in September 2020. The Eastern Region of Virginia includes Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore, Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.

Thursday afternoon, 10 On Your Side confirmed the identity of the child as 17-year-old Schwanda Corprew.

Schwanda died Friday around 7 p.m. at her home after an illness her mother thought was a cold. She was scheduled to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 3.

Schwanda was a student at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk and her mother Sherrell Corprew, told 10 On Your Side Schwanda was a TikTok queen who loved electronics. They said she could fix anything.

She is survived by six sisters. Schwanda was her mother’s youngest child.

“I lost my, my baby to COVID,” said Sherrell Corprew. “She was just a good child. She never, I mean she never did nothing either way. She … I’m going to truly miss her. That was my baby.”

Her stepmother says this sudden loss was a wake-up call for her about getting the shot.

“It took a lot out of me because how can a bubbly child just go from being so bubbly to just passing away with no signs, warning, anything,” said stepmother Anita Sawyer.

They want to stress the importance of getting vaccinated so other families won’t suffer the loss they’re now doing through.

“Anybody can get COVID. I mean you can be the most healthiest person in the world and you can die from COVID. So, I mean, COVID don’t have no age. It took my daughter,” Sawyer said.

“Please get your shots. We don’t want no one else to have to bury someone from COVID,” said Schwanda’s grandmother, Althea Trimble.

The Corprew family has a GoFundMe to help them lay Schwanda to rest. It has a $5,000 goal.

“We extend our condolences to the family and friends of this child at this time of great loss,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “COVID-19 has taken thousands of lives from us, and every death is a tragedy. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. As we have seen in recent weeks, a COVID variant, the Delta variant, spreads more easily from one person to another. We have made progress in these past months against this virus, but a tragic event like the death of this young child is a stark reminder that our work is not done.”

Data from the state shows children ages 0 to 19 make up between 13% and 16% of total COVID-19 cases in health districts in Hampton Roads and Eastern Virginia since March 2020.

A VDH spokesperson said Corprew’s deaths will be reflected in Friday’s updated numbers from the health department.

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