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Hampton Roads Community News

Norfolk Teen’s COVID Death Is First Among Region’s Youth

By Rosaland Tyler
Associate Editor
New Journal and Guide

The family of 17-year-old Schwanda Corprew, the first youth to die from COVID-19 in Eastern Virginia, recently launched a GoFundMePage that has a goal of $5,000.

Burial arrangements are being made for Corprew, who would have been a senior at Norfolk’s Booker T. Washington High School this fall. Corprew, a Norfolk Tidewater Gardens resident died at home on July 30 after complaining of a headache and suffering cold-like symptoms at home. She was scheduled to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 3, days before she died.

“I never pictured me burying my child,” her mother, Sherell Corprew said in recent news reports. “She was like, ‘Ma, I’m tired.’ I said, ‘Schwanda, if you’re tired, go to sleep.’ Usually, when someone says they’re ‘tired,’ usually that means tired, and they go to sleep,” Corprew said. “I left and went to go pick up my check. I left, and my baby was in the house dead.”

Her mother called paramedics who confirmed her daughter’s death.  She became one of nearly 300 children who have died nationwide from COVID-19 since the pandemic started, according to the Virginia Health Department.

The first child in Virginia  to die from COVID-19 was a teenager in the Southside Health District back in September 2020.

Since then, the VDH has confirmed two virus-related deaths in children under 10, including a Central Virginia child in March and then a child in the Rappahannock Area Health District in July. The department’s coronavirus dashboard also includes six coronavirus deaths among children between the ages of 10 and 19.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 3.63 million children have tested positive nationwide, making up about 13.6 percent of all cases. The Delta variant is attacking more and more children nationwide.

Memphis physician Dr. Nick Hysmith, medical director of Infection Prevention at Le Bonheur, said he recently saw two children die from COVID-19, while an increasing number of juveniles are being admitted to the hospital with COVID symptoms.

Hysmith recently told Newsweek, “What we have seen over the last week and a half is that kids are actually coming in with pretty severe COVID Symptoms. Respiratory symptoms and things of that nature.”

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The teen who recently died at home in Tidewater Gardens from COVID-19 was outgoing, curious and active on social media.

She was a member of Teens With a Purpose (TWP), a popular Norfolk-based youth group and recently had attended a summer camp sponsored by the group  On Wednesday  August 11, TWP Executive Director Deidre Love partnered with the Norfolk health department to host a COVID vaccination clinic at the park nearby the group’s headquarters in hopes of encouraging vaccination among the teen population.

Schwanda Cornrow’s aunt, Shanice Adams said, “With the community’s help, with everybody else’s help, we can get her a proper service and burial so that she could be put to rest like the sweet angel she is.”  

“We are asking for any help no matter how small or how big we are just looking to give her the home-going she deserves. The funds will go towards her funeral service which is $5000 along with burial fees which is $2200. That is just the minimum not including the clothing flowers repast etc. We will be thankful and grateful for any amount you can spare, so thank you in advance.”

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