A 13-year-old Brampton girl has died after testing positive for COVID-19, becoming one of the youngest victims of the virus in Ontario.
A GoFundMe created by a friend of the family, Adrian Goddard, said Emily Victoria Viegas died on April 22.
Goddard told Global News he was a friend of Viegas’ father, Carlos Viegas through ball hockey and that he had met Emily a few times over the years.
He said Emily’s mother is also in the ICU with COVID-19.
Goddard said Carlos is at the family’s home in Brampton quarantining with his son, who also tested positive. Carlos was the only one who did not test positive, Goddard said.
The Globe and Mail, who first reported the story, said the family lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Brampton.
On Sunday, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown tweeted his condolences to the family.
“This is beyond heart-wrenching. As a parent, I am lost for words. Horrifying,” he tweeted. “We can never underestimated the seriousness of COVID-19 and the variants.”
On Monday he told Global News “words don’t describe the pain that this family must be facing right now.”
“When we hear about high COVID case numbers, there are stories behind these case numbers,” he continued.
“Our community is heavily filled with essential workers and in this case, it’s a warehouse worker. The family was doing everything right, they weren’t socializing, they were staying home. They were following the advice of public health and an essential worker went to work and brought it back to his family,” Brown said.
“It’s why I’ve been screaming from the top of my lungs to vaccinate essential workers.”
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie echoed Brown’s sentiments shortly after.
“My deepest condolences to Emily Viegas’ parents, family and friends. To lose someone so young to this virus is truly heartbreaking,” she wrote on Twitter.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott called the loss a “tragedy” at Queen’s Park on Monday.
Premier Doug Ford issued a statement just before noon on Monday.
“My heart absolutely breaks for this family. I can’t imagine the unbearable pain and sorrow they are feeling right now …,” Ford said.
“On behalf of all Ontarians, I’m sending my deepest condolences to everyone who is suffering from the terrible loss of this young life.”
Elected officials in the House of Commons and the Ontario legislature held moments of silence in honour of Emily.
A spokesman with Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board confirmed that one of its students recently died from the novel coronavirus.
“It is with great sadness that we have learned of the recent death of a Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board student. This is a loss to the entire DPCDSB community,” a statement read on Monday.
“Our prayers go out to the family, staff, students and all who are impacted.”
The school board said it’s focusing on supporting staff and students who have been hit by the loss.
Peel Region has been one of the hardest hit regions throughout the coronavirus pandemic, in Brampton especially. Last week, the region’s medical officer of health said residents should assume everyone has COVID as the city’s positivity rate hit over 22 per cent.
—With files from The Canadian PressView link »