A 13-year-old girl from Brampton, Ontario who was the daughter of an essential worker has become one of COVID-19’s youngest Canadian victims.
Emily Victoria Viegas died of the virus on April 22, and family friend Adrian Goddard has organized an online fundraiser to help her family with her burial and funeral costs.
Emily’s father Carlos Viegas works at a warehouse and had received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Through unknown causes, her mother became infected with COVID-19 and was in the hospital on oxygen at the time of Emily’s death, Viegas told The Globe and Mail.
Viegas said he struggled with the decision of whether to call an ambulance for Emily, knowing she could be taken to a hospital in a different city because Brampton Civic was overloaded.
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Her father was also under strict self-isolation orders because of her mother’s infection, and he knew if the 13-year-old went to the hospital she wouldn’t be able to see either of her parents.
He took care of her at home by routinely checking her temperature, giving her water and Tylenol, and encouraging her to eat. But on Thursday morning, Emily’s younger brother woke up in the bedroom they share together to find her unresponsive.
“Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult and unfortunate time,” Goddard wrote on her GoFundMe page.
So far it’s raised more than $60,000.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown shared his condolences on behalf of the City.
“This is beyond heart-wrenching. As a parent, I am lost for words. Horrifying,” he said in a tweet. “We can never underestimate the seriousness of COVID-19 and the variants.”
Politicians at Queen’s Park in Toronto also took part in a moment of silence Monday morning in honour of Emily.
“My heart absolutely breaks for this family,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “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.”
Brampton is home to many essential workers in the Greater Toronto Area, and many of the city’s neighbourhoods are reporting COVID-19 test positivity of well over 10%.
Several of the city’s postal codes have been designated COVID-19 hotspots by the provincial government, meaning people 50 and older living there are now eligible for a vaccine.
People age 18 to 49 need to wait for mobile pop-up clinics targeting their area.
Daily Hive has reached out to Emily’s family for comment but has not yet heard back.