Toddler Dies in Her Sleep After Catching COVID

A 13-month-old toddler in South Australia has died in her sleep after contracting COVID. The cause of death of Dakota Nenke is still unknown, but the toddler tested positive for COVID after her passing, becoming the youngest Australian to pass away while infected with the virus.

The toddler's parents said they have no idea how she may have contracted COVID, 7 News reported.

When Dakota Nenke's parents, father Ryan Nenke, 29, and mother Karly Conry, 27, put the seemingly healthy toddler to bed at their home in northwest Adelaide on December 27 they noted that her temperature was slightly higher than usual.

Ryan Nenke told the Daily Mail Australia: "We gave her Panadol two times that day she had her normal naps and was playing with her siblings in the afternoon and went to sleep."

Since the morning of December 28, when it was discovered that Dakota Nenke had passed away, the rest of the family has tested positive for COVID. Ryan Nenke added that the family is vaccinated against the virus.

He continued that he and his partner were concerned for Dakota's twin sister Hallie, who spent a day in the hospital following the death of her sibling. Hallie, who along with her twin sister had just learned to walk, now seems to have returned to full health.

"She's back to herself now, and we're all fine," Ryan Nenke told the Mail.

Since the toddler passed away on December 28, the community in South Australia has rallied around Dakota Nenke's parents. A GoFundMe page created for the family has raised over $31,000 AUD (about $22,000) of a $20,000 target.

Brooke Page, who organized the fundraiser on behalf of Karly Conry, wrote: "For those who know Karly & Ryan know their children are their life and have always been patient, loving, attentive and admirable parents. The devastation they are feeling is unbearable.

"Dakota leaves behind her 3 siblings who all loved and adored her beyond measure."

Page added that the GoFundMe page was arranged to ensure that the family of the toddler would not have to worry about finances as it organizes a funeral.

Page wrote: "We would like to raise some money to make this family feel comfortable with not going back to work straight away, giving them time to mourn for their sudden loss, help them with their life expenses and spend time with their children and loved ones."

According tothe New York Times COVID tracker Australia is currently experiencing a spike in COVID infections, with an average of over 25,000 new cases per day. This represents an increase of 572 percent over the past two weeks.

In terms of cases per person, South Australia, where Dakota Nenke lived, is the second-worst affected region of the country with 122 cases per 100,000 people. This equates to a daily average of over 2,000 COVID infections per day.

The worst affected area in Australia currently is New South Wales with over 15,000 COVID infections per day, equivalent to 187 cases per 100,000 people.

Deaths have also increased in Australia with an average of nine COVID-related fatalities per day, an increase of 56 percent over the past two weeks.

toddler baby feet
A stock image shows a baby's feet. A toddler in Australia became the youngest person in the country to pass away while infected with COVID. Getty Images