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Mondovi teen dies after testing positive for COVID-19

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MONDOVI, Wis. (WQOW) -- A Mondovi teenager has died after testing positive for COVID-19 and a number of health issues that followed that diagnosis.

A GoFundMe for Dylan Passa's family says the 17-year-old died on Wednesday, Sept. 22. The GoFundMe says Passa recently tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized with pneumonia on Sept. 14. The next day he was moved to intensive care for further care.

On Sept. 18, Passa developed blood clots in his legs and the following day he was intubated and flown to Children's Hospital in Minnesota.

The GoFundMe goes onto say Passa had myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, and collapsed lungs when he was flown out.

On Sept. 22, Passa died. An update on the GoFundMe page says, "Dylan’s brain had too much damage during the multiple ECMO procedures on Tuesday and he passed away Wednesday afternoon with his family by his side."

ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Mayo Clinic describes the process as "pumping blood outside of the body to a heart-lung machine, removing carbon dioxide and sending oxygen-filled blood back to tissues in the body." This allows the heart and lungs to rest and hopefully heal.

In a memo to families on Sept. 23, School District of Mondovi Superintendent Jeff Rykal called Passa's death, "a truly devastating time for our entire community."

A press release from Buffalo County Health and Human Services on Sept. 22 said the Mondovi School Board had voted on Sept. 15 to allow close contacts to return to school "despite CDC, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and Buffalo County Department of Health & Human Services quarantine recommendations."

Following that vote, a health officer wrote quarantine letters for every child identified as a close contact and sent them to parents on Sept. 17. According to the health department, on Sept. 18, Rykal told a health officer that the district would comply with those orders.

Going into the school year, the Mondovi School District opted to recommend masks but not make them mandatory. That decision was based on parental feedback where 75% of elementary and middle school parents said they preferred masks be optional. That number was 87% for high school student parents.

In a community meeting on Sept. 22, a Buffalo County health official said while the health department recommends masking in schools, they do not have the resources to enforce a mask order. She recommended if parents want to see masks mandated in school buildings that they go to the school board.

In that same meeting, the superintendent also said he recommends wearing a mask in order to cut down on quarantining.

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