13-year-old north Georgia student dies from COVID-19, coroner says

FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. — UPDATE: Family members identify the boy as Porter Helms. READ FULL STORY HERE.


A 13-year-old boy from Floyd County has died after contracting COVID-19.

Floyd County Coroner Gene Proctor said the student was found not breathing by his parents early Monday morning.

“He was found by his dad he called 911 and started CPR,” Proctor said.

Paramedics rushed the young teen to Floyd Medical Center, but there was no hope of reviving him. The boy was pronounced dead at 5:55 a.m.

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“He was a healthy young man, no health issues that were known,” Proctor said. “We made a determination the boy died of respiratory failure directly related to COVID-19.”

The coroner said he didn’t know if the boy had been vaccinated.

“Being 13, I would very seriously doubt it,” Proctor said.

Channel 2′s Matt Johnson confirmed with family members that th


The boy was a student at Coosa Middle School in Rome. The school system released a statement to Channel 2 Action News:

“The loss of a child, at any time, under any circumstances, is a tragedy. We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to this child’s family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus.

Because we know this will impact our school community emotionally, we encourage parents to be emotionally sensitive and prepare to offer support to their child or children during this difficult time.”

As the delta variant rages, emergency rooms are seeing younger and younger patients coming down with the disease.

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“A number of young people are being hospitalized, particularly between the ages of 5 and 17. There is a doubling of that in Georgia,” said Dr. Gary Voccio, northwest district director for the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Floyd Medical Center, like many across the state, is struggling to cope with a tidal wave of COVID patients — at least 90% of whom are unvaccinated.

“(There are) No beds at any of the hospitals,” Voccio said. “The physicians are exhausted, the nurses are exhausted and it’s just time to get the vaccine. We are imploring, begging people to get vaccinated It could save your life.”

Floyd County has seen a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, with a total of 205 deaths and nearly 1,000 hospitalizations since the pandemic began.