Questions arise after teen’s death was initially linked to coronavirus in California

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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health attributed his death to the coronavirus on Tuesday. Later that night, officials backed down, saying their case needs further review by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The teenager's case has become more complicated among local and county officials. In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said the teenager died a week ago on March 18.

"On Friday he was fine, on Wednesday he was dead," said the mayor. "It's five days."

The mayor criticized the period it took county officials to determine the teenager's death.

"I can't believe it took a week to discover that a child in my town died," Parris said.

Teen was rejected in urgent care, says mayor

The mayor said he spoke to the teenager's distraught father, who gave him more details about what happened.

When the teenager became ill, his parents took him to an urgent care center and they were rejected because he had no health insurance, Parris said. They then took him to an emergency room at a local hospital.

"When a child has difficulty breathing, stabilize him and call the ambulance, don't ask for insurance," Parris infuriated. He said he is not aware of any health problems the teen may have had.

The teenager underwent a coronavirus test in a hospital, and when the results were obtained, his parents were also told that they were infected with the virus, but had not been tested, the mayor said. It is unclear how long it took for the results to appear.

In a statement Tuesday night, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said it is investigating the case further. "Although the first tests indicated a positive result for Covid-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternative explanation for this fatality. Patient privacy prevents us from offering further details at this time," he said in a statement.

The county health agency did not respond to additional CNN questions about the case.

A friend of the teenager who attends Lancaster High School also tested positive for coronavirus, the mayor said. So did the friend's father.

The teen's father is also concerned about people hugging and shaking hands at the funeral, Parris said. It is unclear if they knew that the teenager had died of coronavirus at the time.

Lancaster, in northern Los Angeles County, has a population of approximately 160,000 people.

The number of coronavirus cases in the state doubles every three to four days, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California secretary of Health and Human Services.

"We originally thought it would double every six to seven days and we see cases that double every three to four days," said Ghaly.

There are more than 65,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States. USA, based on the count of cases detected and tested by CNN Health through public health systems. More than 900 people have died.

California has had more than 2,500 cases and 53 deaths.

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