A 6-year-old girl in New Jersey has died from the flu and her father, who was stationed overseas, flew home just in time to say goodbye to his little girl, according to reports from CBS2.
The New Jersey Health Department confirmed Tuesday that Nevaeh Hernandez, a kindergartner at Lincoln Elementary School, is the second pediatric death in the state so far this season.
Members of the community of North Bergen, NJ told the news station the girl's father was serving with the armed forces in Germany and was immediately sent home when he learned her condition was deteriorating over the weekend.
“She was a great girl. She was the light of their life and the father was all about that baby,” said Marta Claudio, a parent of one of Nevaeh's classmates. The mother added that the dad “loves his daughter to death.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for the child's funeral services.
Parents of students at Lincoln Elementary School on Tuesday discussed efforts to make sure the episode never occurs again, as administrators urged parents to keep sick children at home.
"It's not a conversation you want to have with your daughter, but I wanted her to know what was going around in school and for her to be careful," Brenda Cruz, the mother of one of Hernandez's classmates, told the Jersey Journal. "When she has lunchtime, wash your hands."
Another parent sent her daughter to school with hand sanitizer.
"We know the flu this year has been very bad," Gemma Fandialan, the mother of a kindergartner at the school, said in an interview with the paper. "I just reminded my daughter last night, you know, just make sure every time you touch something, doorknobs, anything you know wash your hands, sanitize your hands."
Neveah’s passing will be added to the list of pediatric flu-related deaths that continues to grow from week to week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 63 children have died of influenza in last Friday's press briefing.
The CDC, which now says this is the worst flu season in 15 years, is urging parents to get their children vaccinated.