From Iceland — Four-Month-Old Child Diagnosed With COVID-19 Discharged From Hospital

Four-Month-Old Child Diagnosed With COVID-19 Discharged From Hospital

Published April 1, 2020

Sam O'Donnell
Photo by
Guðrún Ólöf Björnsdóttir

A four-month-old child was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week in Akureyri and was finally discharged from the hospital yesterday. The boy was first admitted to the hospital with a bad cough. The boy’s mother, Guðrún Ólöf Björnsdóttir, is breastfeeding, but is not infected with the virus herself, RÚV reports.

It is unclear how the boy was infected. His three year old brother got sick in early March, and just over a week later, the four-month-old fell ill. At first, no one suspected that the boys had the novel coronavirus. The younger boy’s symptoms were mild, but lasted for a long time, so Guðrún decided to get the child tested for influenza. All the tests came back negative.

That is when they decided to test for COVID-19, since the boy had all the typical symptoms of the disease. “He had a dry cough and was very unwell, sweated quite a lot and was miserable,” Guðrún said. The boy’s condition worsened, and he was subsequently admitted to the Akureyri Hospital. There, the four-month-old was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Guðrún was tested on Monday, and the results came back negative. “I find it just so strange because the boy is breastfeeding and there is a great closeness between mother and child,” she said.

Þórólfur Guðnason, chief epidemiologist, said last night on RÚV that young children usually do not become seriously ill, and that it is possible that the infection came from someone besides his mother. Guðrún, meanwhile, said that since they waited so long to test the three-year-old, it is impossible to ascertain at this point whether he gave it to his brother.

The four-month-old was discharged from the hospital yesterday and has returned home to live with five other people in solitary confinement. While everyone in the household is in quarantine, no one has shown symptoms of COVID-19.

Guðrún says that the boy is returning to his normal self, and thanks the healthcare workers for their role in helping her child. “All of our healthcare professionals are doing their best in this epidemic and I am very grateful for the good work they are all doing in this,” she said. “These are all really fine people that we have on the front line. The boy is becoming more like himself, but there is still a little cough left in him. We are now receiving daily calls from doctors and he got an inhaler for his cough.”

As ever, those looking for more information or advice should go to the Icelandic Government’s excellent COVID-19 help page.

Tune into our daily COVID-Cast for a deeper dive into the day’s developments.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

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