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20-year-old Idaho woman dies from COVID-19

"Right before they intubated her, the last thing she said to me was, 'Mama, I don't want to die'," her mom told KTVB.

BOISE, Idaho — Cleo Shepherd, 20, died Sept. 20, 2021, in the Saint Alphonsus ICU from COVID-19-related reasons, according to her mother, Summer Carr.

Health experts have continued to warn the public that hospitalization and ICU patients are younger and younger. This week, St. Luke's reported their average ICU patient was 72 years old in December. Now, their average ICU patient in 58.

In that same time frame, the average age of a COVID-19 death has dropped 6.7 years, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Health and Welfare also reports 10 people in the state have died between the ages of 18-29 from COVID-19.

Shepherd lived in Payette but was originally hospitalized in her hometown Ontario, Oregon. However, the family transferred Shepherd to Saint Alphonsus in Boise, according to Carr.

"They treated her so good. They did everything in their power to try and help her" Carr said. "She was 20 years old and full of life. This should not have to happen."

Shepherd developed pneumonia in the hospital from her bout with COVID-19. It later led to kidney failure.

"They had to intubate her, and right before they intubated her, the last thing she said to me was, 'Mama, I don't want to die'," Carr said. "And I promised her she was going to be fine. And that was the last conversation I ever had with her."

Shepherd's vaccination status is unclear. The family was not comfortable discussing COVID-19 vaccination with KTVB.

The family is struggling to pay for burial costs and has set up a donation portal for anyone interested in helping shoulder the cost.

"She was just the kindest soul, and she loved children so much. She walked into a room and it lit up," Carr said. "And although it hurts us, we know Jesus is holding her in his arms right now. And I just want to thank everybody for their continued prayers."

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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