Funds are being raised for the funeral of a 13-year-old Brampton girl who is one of the youngest Canadians to die after contracting COVID-19.
Emily Viegas died on April 22, just days after first exhibiting symptoms and five days after testing positive for the virus.
Her father told the Globe and Mail her symptoms started as a persistent cough, then she had trouble breathing and eventually could not stand on her own. Days later she was rushed to hospital after he family found her unresponsive in her bed.
She was pronounced dead hours later after several attempts to resuscitate her. Doctors said she had pneumonia in addition to COVID-19.
Mayor Patrick Brown tweeted his condolences on Sunday.
“This is beyond heart wrenching,” said Brown. “As a parent, I am lost for words. Horrifying. We can never underestimate the seriousness of COVID-19 and the variants.”
Premier Doug Ford released the following statement on Monday.
“My heart absolutely breaks for this family. I can’t imagine the unbearable pain and sorrow they are feeling right now. It’s heart-wrenching and a devastating reminder of what this virus can do. On behalf of all Ontarians, I’m sending my deepest condolences to everyone who is suffering from the terrible loss of this young life.”
According to the Globe and Mail, Emily lived in an apartment in Brampton with her parents and her brother. Her brother and mother are also sick with the virus and her mother remains in the hospital. Her father has received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
A GoFundMe page was setup shortly after Viegas’s death to help cover her funeral and burial costs and has already quadrupled the initial goal of $10,000.
Parts of Brampton have been among some of the hardest hit communities in the entire country throughout the pandemic. The city currently has a test positivity rate of approximately 22 per cent, the highest in Ontario.
Severe COVID-19 cases for younger Canadians have been extremely rare. Out of the over 200,000 people under 19 infected with the virus there have been 142 who have been admitted to the ICU.
As of the latest provincial numbers, there are currently 2,126 people in the hospital with COVID-19 and 851 in the ICU.