Teen who may have died of coronavirus was turned away from urgent care due to lack of insurance

A California teenager who died last week, possibly from coronavirus, was turned away from an urgent care because he lacked health insurance. 

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a video that the 17-year-old had no previous health conditions and was healthy Friday, socializing with friends, before he passed away Wednesday.

"Wednesday, he had gone to an urgent care," he said. "He didn't have insurance, so they did not treat him."

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Parris said the teen was sent to the hospital but went into cardiac arrest on the way and died. He was briefly revived, but ultimately passed away.

"We've learned that once you go into respiratory issues, you have trouble breathing, you're short of breath and you have a fever, that is the time to get medical treatment without delay," Parris said.

The teen's death was reported Tuesday. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health initially said the cause was COVID-19, but later walked the comment back, saying further analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was needed to confirm the cause of death.

"Though early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality," the statement said. "Patient privacy prevents our offering further details at this time."

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