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At visitation for state's youngest COVID-19 victim, mourners say last goodbyes

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Family and community members gathered Wednesday to say their final goodbyes to 5-year-old Skylar Herbert, the youngest known victim of COVID-19 in Michigan.

The public visitation is being held until 9 p.m. at James H. Cole Funeral Home, 16100 Schaefer Highway in Detroit.

The funeral home said by 11:30 a.m., an overwhelming number of visitors have stopped by the chapel to pay their respects. Visitation is limited to 10 people at a time and the chapel asks that mourners not linger so others may be accommodated.

Detroit Police officers arrive during a public visitation for 5-year-old Skylar Herbert, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. April 29 at James H. Cole Funeral Home Northwest Chapel at 16100 Schaefer Highway in Detroit.

A private funeral limited to 10 guests of the family will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday. The service will be livestreamed.

Skylar's battle with COVID-19 began a month ago when she first complained of a bad headache. 

After Skylar was admitted into Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak on March 29, she developed meningoencephalitis, which caused her brain to swell, her parents said.  

Skylar Herbert

She was put on a ventilator April 4, where she remained until she died on April 19.

Skylar's mother, LaVondria Hebert, said the family decided to remove her from the ventilator "because her improvement had stopped."

"The doctors told us that it was possible she was brain dead and we basically just knew she wasn’t coming back to us," she said.

Skylar's parents are first responders in the city; her father has served with the Detroit Fire Department for 18 years and her mother with the Detroit Police Department for 25 years.

The Skylar Herbert Memorial Fund has been launched by the Detroit Public Safety Foundation, the city of Detroit, Detroit Police Department, Detroit Fire Department and relatives through Chemical Bank.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_