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A Woman In Her Thirties Died Of COVID-19 On A Plane

A Texas woman in her thirties died after she had trouble breathing while the plane was on the tarmac.

Last updated on October 20, 2020, at 5:33 p.m. ET

Posted on October 19, 2020, at 3:01 p.m. ET

Airplane passengers in seats inside a commercial flight
Erik Witsoe / Getty Images

A woman in her thirties died of COVID-19 while she was on a plane from New Mexico to Texas in July, officials said Sunday.

Dallas County official Lauren Trimble told BuzzFeed News on Monday that the woman died while the plane was on the tarmac in Arizona. However, on Tuesday, Trimble said the woman died while the plane was on the ground in New Mexico.

Trimble did not identify which airline the plane belonged to.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins first identified the woman as a resident of Garland, Texas, but his office said Tuesday that she was a resident of Dallas.

It is unclear if the woman was aware that she had COVID-19 at the time of her death.

Before the woman died, she had trouble breathing and was given oxygen, Jenkins told NBC 5 Dallas–Fort Worth. She also had underlying high-risk health conditions, officials said in a news release Sunday.

Even though the woman died on July 25, the county wasn't notified that it was a COVID-19–related death until only a few days ago, Jenkins told the TV station WFAA.

Trimble told BuzzFeed News that the woman’s case was a confirmed COVID-19 death, per the CDC’s definition.

The county did not provide further information about the case.

Jenkins said that the woman's death was a "reminder that there is no age restriction in COVID."

"I would strongly encourage people to not think they’re invincible from COVID because they don’t think they’re in a high-risk category," he said.

While COVID-19 rates were highest among older adults early on in the pandemic, that trend switched to people between the ages of 20 and 29 from June to August, according to a recent CDC study.

Another CDC study from the summer found that 1 in 5 people aged 18 to 34 who had tested positive for COVID-19 had not recovered after a few weeks and could be chronically ill.

As of Monday morning, Texas has had at least 868,917 COVID-19 cases and 17,541 related deaths, according to a New York Times database.

The US is seeing a "third wave" of hospitalizations as the election draws closer. Texas is seeing an increase in hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients as officials warn that the state could see another surge, the Texas Tribune reported.

Last week, Dallas County's coronavirus risk threat was moved to the highest level of red due to the "new and quickly escalating wave of #COVID19 cases hitting North Texas," Jenkins tweeted.

Correction: The woman was a resident of Dallas and died in New Mexico. An earlier version of this story, using information provided by Dallas County officials, misstated the locations of her death and residence.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.