The death of an eight-year-old girl from Queens on Monday morning was flu-related, the city health department confirmed.
Police said the girl, who is from LeFrak City, was pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital around 6:38 a.m.
Sources told NY1 on Monday that Amely Baez had preexisting health issues and was having trouble breathing at the time of her death.
Her death reportedly came only one day after being diagnosed with the flu. It is unclear if she received a flu shot. Doctors say getting the shot is the best way to keep the flu away.
Neighbor of the eight-year-old said that the local school is full of sick children and that some of the apartments in the complex are without heat.
Many residents complain that there is not enough heat in their apartments and wonder if that contributed to Baez's case. There was a mobile heating trailer outside the complex Monday night. Despite that, management disputed those claims and said there are no heating problems at LeFrak City.
City medical officials said Monday that another child died from the flu earlier in the season. That child's identity has not been released.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that, so far, 53 children have died of the flu nationwide this year. About half of them had no other underlying health issues putting them at increased risk.
Up until now, state health officials have only one lab-confirmed pediatric flu death.
Health officials continue to urge the public to get vaccinated against the flu, but there are some hurdles to getting said shots, as the CDC says there are vaccine and flu test shortages across the country.
Though state health officials tell NY1 that New York is stocked up, last month the state received a shipment of more than 150 million doses of the vaccine. With an executive order, the governor gave pharmacists the ability to vaccinate teens and kids, so New Yorkers do not have to book an appointment with a pediatrician to get the shot.
Some areas in the state are seeing shortages of the antiviral medication used to alleviate flu symptoms.
The other issue is whether the vaccine works. This year's dominant strain, H3N2, is notoriously elusive. It was only 10 percent effective in protecting against that strain in Australia, and Canada is reporting similar numbers.
The CDC said it is still too early to say whether the United States is experiencing the same low effectiveness.
New York City is still in peak flu season.
The country has seen 10 straight weeks of high influenza activity; a typical season can last up to 20 weeks.
So far, it seems that Queens has been hit hardest, with more than 4,000 lab-confirmed flu cases to date.
Experts advise people to stay home if they feel sick, wash their hands frequently, and have their child checked out if she or he is sick.