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11-year-old Athens girl tests positive for COVID-19 months after heart transplant

“Once we saw that cases were on the rise if we switched to masking maybe we could have prevented this,”
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 12:32 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - Bella Winters, known for her tremendous heart transplant story has tested positive for COVID-19.

Bella was born with nine congenital heart defects and earlier this year she had a heart transplant which WAFF followed extensively.

Bella is currently in quarantine at home as she fights the virus. She is experiencing mild symptoms such as fever, severe migraines, stuffy nose and sneezing.

Bella’s mother released a statement on Facebook stating “As a mother I have done everything I can possibly do to keep my child healthy and safe, but we need everyone else to do their part.”

View the full statement below:

Right now, Bella is doing alright with only semi-mild symptoms and is thankfully at home versus the hospital, but she’s obviously still at very high risk. Bella’s mom Corey Winters got a text that a student who sits by her daughter had the virus, and sure enough Bella tested positive Wednesday morning.

”For us, the biggest thing right now is just staying out of the hospital like being healthy enough with this to stay home,” said Corey.

Bella is a sixth-grader in the Limestone County Schools system. Right now, we’re told Bella’s symptoms are a migraine and congestion.

“When she does wake up with a headache she’s crying and screaming and it’s excruciating,” said Corey.

Her mom says they’ve done everything they can to protect Bella at school, but as long as masks are optional, it’s not enough.

“Once we saw that cases were on the rise if we switched to masking maybe we could have prevented this. They have to mask on the bus, so we could carry that into the classroom,” said Corey.

Limestone County Schools Superintendent Randy Shearouse says he’s sorry to hear about Bella and wishes her well.

“I understand this is a very serious matter and we do take the whole situation very seriously,” said Shearouse.

Shearouse says two and a half percent of students have COVID. As of Wednesday, 200 students and 16staff members tested positive. Shearouse says he would never rule out masks being mandated within the school system.

“We said from the very beginning that we’re gonna look at our individual cases and look at our numbers and make decisions you know accordingly,” said Shearouse.

Corey says there are other high-risk students, and it’s about more than just Bella.

“If we can prevent this from going through more students by masking, by going back to stepping our cleaning back up or whatever, it needs to be done,” said Corey.

Bella’s vitals, oxygen, blood pressure, and more will have to be continuously monitored. WAFF will keep you updated on Bella’s condition.

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