Milton 24-year-old dies of COVID-19, youngest death in Northwest Florida
MILTON — Northwest Florida has recorded its youngest death from the coronavirus to date.
A 24-year-old Milton man died from COVID-19 at the Santa Rosa Medical Center on Thursday, according to Jeff Martin, director and chief of forensic investigations at the District 1 Medical Examiner's office.
Martin said the man had tested positive for COVID-19 and was recovering at home when he had complications from the virus. He went to the Santa Rosa Medical Center and died "pretty rapidly" after that, Martin said.
The man's death has not yet been reported by the Florida Department of Health in its daily coronavirus report. Data from the health department has lagged behind and sometimes contradicted data collected by state medical examiner's offices, which investigate each death in their jurisdictions.
The 24-year-old is the youngest person to die from the virus in four counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton that make up the District 1 Medical Examiner's jurisdiction.
The man is the youngest person to die from the virus by at least 16 years in the four county area. The heath department data doesn't align with the medical examiner's data, with the state reporting a 41-year-old as the next youngest local coronavirus death and the medical examiner reporting a 40-year-old.
People under 40 now make up the majority of COVID-19 cases nationwide, according to data analysis from USA TODAY.
Speaking to Congress last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said young adults are less likely to develop complications from the virus but doctors are seeing “more and more” complications with COVID-19 in young people.
The median age of positive COVID-19 cases in all four Panhandle counties is now under 40, with Santa Rosa County reaching the lowest median age at 34.
The average age of deaths in the four counties remains at 77.
Jim Little can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 850-208-9827.