Ohio 9-year-old dies after COVID-19 diagnosis; doctors call it ‘medical mystery’

Coronavirus

The girl's mother said it started when she began walking strangely in May

BUTLER CO., Ohio (CNN) – A 9-year-old girl has died after being diagnosed with the coronavirus. Doctors called the cause of her death a “medical mystery.”

Rehmert and Taylor Williamson taught Dorielis Reyes-Paula at Wildwood Elementary School.

“We’ve all been praying and hoping for the miracle,” Chris Rehmert said.

But that miracle didn’t come. The little girl passed away Wednesday night.

“Last night, the news coming that she had passed was devastating,” Rehmert said.

The girl’s mother detailed her illness online, saying Reyes-Paula first started walking strangely in May. She went to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Her symptoms turned to inflammation and paralysis in her arms and legs.

“Hearing that she was that sick in the beginning was hard, but hearing that was 10 times harder,” Rehmert said.

Williamson and Rehmert visited Reyes-Paula at the hospital last week, retelling stories about the student.

“While we were laughing at one of the stories that the doctors were telling us, her little eyes kept — not opening, but fluttering, like, ‘I’m laughing with you guys. I’m here, I’m laughing,'” Rehmert said.

They told stories like this one…

“She’s sitting there with a book in each hand, reading during math class. And I didn’t — I’d never have to tell a child but Dorielis, ‘Put your books away,'” Rehmert said.

Reyes-Paula’s personality shined through the school and into the hearts of her teachers.

“She, as a student, was just so energetic, bubbly, sweet,” Williamson said.

“If we even started to look sad, she picked up on it and she was right there,” Rehmert said. “And she was like, ‘What can I do to help you?'”

The women said they are carrying the girl’s memory close to their hearts, wearing shirts and masks with her initials and a Noah’s ark on them. Reyes-Paula wanted to visit the ark.

“We truly believe she is speaking with Noah now and she is getting the real story,” Rehmert said.

“I will never forget her,” Williamson said. “She will influence me in so many more ways than just as a teacher.”

The school district is making counselors available for students who need to talk about their grief. Teachers also said the school psychologist will be popping into Zoom classes and meetings in case students there need to talk as well.

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