8-year-old girl rescued from Fresno County river is on life support, has tested positive for COVID-19


An 8-year-old girl who was rescued at Reedley Beach from the Kings River last week is on life support and has tested positive for COVID-19, KTLA sister station KPGE in Fresno reported Monday.

The Reedley Police Department identified the girl as Samantha Cruz-Pedro and said she is being treated at Valley Children’s Hospital.

“We’ve been in contact with the family off and on through the weekend just checking on status and if there’s anything, anything they need help with,” said Reedley Police Cmdr. Marc Ediger.

The hospital says that it’s now standard practice to test all patients for the novel coronavirus upon admission, along with all patients before surgery. 

Last Wednesday, Cruz-Pedro and her family were enjoying the day at Reedley Beach when the water swept her away, according to police.

“There’s a big sandy area and that’s where her and two other children were initially playing and our belief is that they waded out a little too far into the water and it dropped off and the current picks up a little bit as you go out further,” Ediger said. 

Manjit Singh, 29, tried using his turban as a life-line to rescue the little girl. When that didn’t work, he jumped into the water to try and save the girl and two other children — an act of bravery that would cost him his life. 

“Definitely a heroic instinct on Manjit’s part to have that reaction to wanting to try and help save those kids, especially Samantha, knowing he didn’t know how to swim,” Ediger said. 

He says a few days later they learned that Cruz-Pedro tested positive for COVID-19.

“Those officers are currently on leave from work and we’re monitoring them and they’re self-quarantining at this point just out of an abundance of precaution but we do not have anyone here at the police department that has tested positive for COVID,” Ediger said. 

But the police officers were not the only ones exposed, so were two Reedley firefighters Fire officials say they too are being monitored. 

A total of four first responders are in quarantine, awaiting test results, according to KPGE.

“Due to that they are essential workers they are not required to be off of work if we have the ability to we will have them self-quarantine at home for up to 14 days, they are following up with medical doctors and being tested,” said Reedley Fire Department Battalion Chief Justin Watson.

Cruz-Pedro is visiting the area with her parents from Mexico, according to police. They say there are three older siblings that the parents are working on trying to bring them to the Central Valley to be with the family during this time.  

Meanwhile, a Change.org petition has been started to rename Reedley Beach after Singh. The online petition had garnered nearly 2,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning.

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