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Palmetto High School senior dies of COVID-19

The school district sent condolences to her family and friends.
Credit: Letty Munivez Vela/Facebook via GoFundMe

PALMETTO, Fla. — Aryana Santana was ready for senior year to start.

She was a familiar face at Palmetto High School. She participated in the yearbook and was actively involved with JROTC.

Described as "a ray of sunshine," Santana's family said she was loved by everybody around her.

Then, she tested positive for COVID-19. It lead her to develop pneumonia in both lungs.

She fought for her life in the intensive care unit at All Children’s Hospital. A GoFundMe page described how Santana couldn't be intubated and was put on a machine that oxygenated her blood.

Her family prayed for a miracle.

She briefly showed progress. But it wasn't enough.

At 17 years old, Aryana Santana died.

Relatives wrote in an update on GoFundMe that their hearts were broken.

"We ask for your continued prayers as we mourn her untimely death," they said.

They thanked school leaders for helping them through this difficult time.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with the entire Santana family, their friends and loved ones, and with the students and staff at Palmetto High School," a Manatee County School District spokesperson told 10 Tampa Bay.

Grief counselors were at the high school on Tuesday.

Other relatives of Santana who have been sickened by the virus are living with lasting impacts, the GoFundMe said, and the family's medical bills have been piling up.

A breakfast/lunch has been organized to support the family. Information can be found here.

The GoFundMe has already reached its $15,000 goal. A link can be found here.

According to the Manatee Schools COVID Dashboard, Palmetto High School has the highest rate of student coronavirus cases since the school year began.

Last school year, the campus sent 100 people, mostly students, home after a teacher became infected.