February 13, 2018
Nevaeh Hernandez brought happiness to everyone around her. This week, there has been nothing but sorrow.
Nevaeh, 6, was identified in media reports as New Jersey’s second fatal victim of the flu virus. Friends and family were seeking support Tuesday to help pay for the remaining medical and funeral expenses before the North Bergen kindergartener is laid to rest.
“It is with great sadness to announce the loss of Nevaeh Hernandez,” according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the family. “This precious angel was tragically taken from us.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the state Department of Health confirmed it had received notification of the Hudson County girl’s death. ABC7 and PIX11 both identified Nevaeh Hernandez as one of two from New Jersey – both children – to die since October after falling ill with the flu.
“Nevaeh was a beautiful 6-year-old full of life who brought happiness to all who surrounded her,” according to the GoFundMe page. “Any donation is greatly appreciated. Please continue to keep the Hernandez and Conteron family in your prayers throughout this most difficult time.”
State officials also expressed their grief as the number of flu cases reported in New Jersey hit 10,000 this past week – more than doubling last year’s number. It’s the highest number of flu cases the state has had in 15 years.
In a news release, Acting Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal and Acting Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet said they were saddened to learn of the death of the child and extended their sympathies to family and friends.
“Stopping the spread of the flu remains a critical public health priority, which is why we have recently launched a significant public awareness campaign within my first few weeks on the job. We take every reported case of a pediatric flu-associated death very seriously,” said Elnahal.
Nevaeh’s family and friends, meanwhile, announced funeral arrangements. A viewing will be held Friday from 2 to 8 p.m. at Vainieri Funeral Home, 5923 Kennedy Blvd. in North Bergen.
Mass will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Saint Augustine Church, 3800 New York Avenue in Union City. Family and friends are asked to gather at 9 a.m. at Vainieri’s funeral home for preparation for the ceremony.
Nevaeh Hernandez later will be laid to rest at Flower Hill Cemetery at 5533 Kennedy Blvd. in West New York.
North Bergen school officials confirmed on Facebook Monday that the district has “lost one of our own,” but did not disclose the cause. The district did say that it was taking precautions “due to the recent flu virus outbreak.”
“During the last three weeks, each desk in our schools have been disinfected with bleach. In addition, our custodians have been spraying disinfectant on doorknobs, handles, toilets, sinks and other surfaces to help prevent the virus from spreading,” George Solter, superintendent of schools, said on Facebook.
The department announced last month that the first victim was a 4-year-girl lived who lived in Central Jersey. The girl, who was not identified, died in December and was not vaccinated. Ocean County officials later claimed that the girl was a resident of that county.
Read more: NJ Flu Scare: Worst Week Yet; Who’s At Risk?
The Departments of Health and Education continue to recommend that people take the necessary precautions during this flu season: wash or disinfect your hands frequently, cover any coughs and sneezes, stay home and call your healthcare provider if you are sick (especially with a fever), and get a flu shot.
“While effectiveness of the vaccine varies from year to year, in most people it still provides protection against the flu or severe symptoms if you do get the flu. Flu season can last until May,” Elnahal said.
Residents can find flu vaccination clinics near them by calling their local health department. Local health department contact information can be found on this site: www.localhealth.nj.gov.
The commissioners emphasized that schools should continue to protect students and staff by cleaning, disinfecting and sharing prevention tips to prevent the spread of influenza.
To learn more about flu, click here.
Here are more social media tributes to Nevaeh:
Photo courtesy of GoFundMe, a promotional partner of Patch