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Madison East student dies from COVID-19 complications, MMSD confirms

The student may be the youngest person in Dane Co. to die from the virus
Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 9:19 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2020 at 6:35 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Madison East High School student died from complications related to COVID-19, the Madison Metropolitan School District confirmed Monday morning.

In an email to students and families, East High School’s principal said junior Isai Morocho died unexpectedly during the Thanksgiving break.

Principal Brendan Kearney described Morocho as “a caring friend and family member with a ready smile and great sense of humor,” as well as an excellent student. Kearney added Morocho was an “excellent student who enjoyed theatre and had talked of becoming a chef and owning his own business.”

Neither the superintendent nor East High School’s principal were available to speak on camera.

“Our community has lost a wonderful young person, and when a school family experiences a tragedy, especially the loss of a young life, it deeply impacts all of us,” MMSD spokesperson Tim LeMonds said in a statement.

LeMonds added that, over the course of the coming days, district officials plan to focus on offering students, families, and staff “the support needed in order to help them process this tremendous loss.”

The high school has set up virtual meetings for Monday and Tuesday afternoons to provide support for grieving students and staff.

All of MMSD is heartbroken to learn of the passing of an East High School student due to COVID-19 related causes. Our community has lost a wonderful young person, and when a school family experiences a tragedy, especially the loss of a young life, it deeply impacts all of us. In the days ahead, MMSD will be focused on providing our students, families and staff the support needed in order to help them process this tremendous loss.

MMSD public information officer Tim LeMonds

Morocho’s death was seemingly recent enough that it does not appear to be indicated yet on either the Dept of Health Services nor the Public Health Madison and Dane Co. COVID-19 dashboard.

Neither dashboard, in fact, shows anyone under 20 having died from confirmed coronavirus-related symptoms, which would also suggest Morocho is the youngest person so far in the state to have died from the virus.

The death of one child under 10 is considered “probable” that it was caused by COVID-19, but that was not confirmed.

NBC15 has not yet learned how Morocho contracted the virus or whether he had any known risk factors.

UW Health Chief Quality Officer Jeff Pothof told NBC15 Morocho’s story shows anyone can get COVID-19 and have complications.

“People look at these broad population statistics which are true, but then they extrapolate and they apply it to themselves,” Pothof said.

While older people or those with underlying health problems are typically at higher risk, Pothof said the death of someone so young is an example of how dangerous the virus can be.

“Even the best doctors in the world can’t predict what’s going to happen if you, an individual, gets COVID-19,” Pothof said, adding, “The story coming out of Madison East is, it’s tragic.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Morocho’s family with funeral expenses.

The Associated Pres contributed to this report.

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