Father confirms London, Ont., 19-year-old died from COVID-19

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The father of a 19-year-old in London, Ont., is confirming his son died from COVID-19 and says lies are being spread on social media.

On Saturday, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) marked Yassin Dabeh’s death, which occurred two days prior, as being related to COVID-19, making it the region’s youngest death related to coronavirus.

Two days later, medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie said the MLHU wouldn’t be able to confirm this as a medical investigation would not be conducted on the 19-year-old’s death.

Read more: Health officials unable to confirm London, Ont., teen died from COVID-19

On Tuesday, Yassin’s father Ahmad Dabeh held a news conference to answer questions surrounding his son’s death.

Speaking to reporters via translator Tamara Elsayed, Dabeh confirmed his son’s death was related to COVID-19.

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The father also made reference to reaction on social media claiming his son did not die from COVID-19.

“He’s really upset at the false rumours that are being spread that it could’ve been suicide,” Elsayed said on behalf of Dabeh.

“He doesn’t know how they were able to create such false rumours when they were not there at the time of his death and they were not there to watch him struggle with COVID-19.”

Read more: Coronavirus deaths in long-term care underscore need for home supports, advocates say

Dabeh said his son had made a few visits to the hospital and he was treated for chest pain, but he was never admitted for more than two or three hours.

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The father added that his son had no underlying health conditions, but his son did complain of having trouble breathing, chest pain and soreness in his body in the days leading up to his death.

“At the time of his death, when the blood work was taken, the results that came in was his death was related to COVID-19,” Dabeh said through Elsayed.

Read more: Will Canadians get to choose which COVID-19 vaccine they get?

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Dabeh, who came to Canada from Syria in 2016, says he sought a better life for Yassin and his family.

He described his son as a hard-working, loving, kind and compassionate person who got along very well with his siblings.

“He was just very outgoing, he loved gatherings and getting with people… He just wanted to have a successful career in Canada and have a good education.”

Yassin worked as a contract cleaner at Middlesex Terrace, a long-term care home in Delaware.

The home has been under a COVID-19 outbreak since Dec. 23, but Dabeh said his son did not express concerns working there

“It was just a very unfortunate situation of him contracting the virus there,” Dabeh added through Elsayed.

Yassin Dabeh came to Canada in 2016 as a Syrian refugee, according to Mohamad Fakih, the founder of Paramount Fine Foods. Fakih says the Islamic community has rallied behind the family, covering all costs associated with the funeral. Mohamad Fakih / Supplied

Dabeh says it has been a difficult mourning process for him and his family. They all have been infected with coronavirus and his wife has been hospitalized three times since she’s been diagnosed.

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The infection also meant that Dabeh and his wife were not able to attend their son’s burial on Friday.

The father says he’s been grateful for the support he’s received in the days since.

“Whether it was financial assistance or just compassion and comfort for the family who’s mourning this loss, he got a lot of support from a lot of community members,” Dabeh said through Elsayed.

“He’s very thankful and very grateful to everybody that has reached out.”

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