A 13-year-old girl from Brampton has become one of the youngest people in Ontario to die of COVID-19.
Mayor Patrick Brown confirmed the death of Emily Victoria Viegas on Sunday evening, tweeting his condolences to the family.
“This is beyond heart wrenching. As a parent, I am lost for words. Horrifying,” Brown said on social media.
Speaking to CP24 on Monday morning, Brown added that the family was “well regarded” in Brampton and enjoyed ball hockey.
“Words don’t describe this type of loss. So needless, so preventable,” he said. “When you think about a loss like this, it stings. It stings not just the family, the neighbour, the friends, classmates, the hospital, staff and health-care workers—imagine trying to resuscitate a 13-year-old, it’s just beyond your worst nightmare.”
The girl’s father was an essential worker at a warehouse, the mayor said.
The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) said on Sunday that one of their students had died, but did not release any further information about their identity or cause of death.
“This is a loss to the entire DPCDSB community. At this time, we are focusing on supporting staff and students and respecting the privacy of the grieving family,” the board said in a statement.
We here @BramptonFireES @PL416 @ChiefBoyes are waking today with heavy hearts & sadness. A 13yr old Brampton girl Emily Victoria Viegas who contracted COVID-19 died last week, becoming one of the youngest victims in Ontario.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends. pic.twitter.com/f6CmiDxtke
— Brampton PFFA (@BPFFA1068) April 26, 2021
Peel Region has often been listed as one of the municipalities with the largest daily COVID-19 case counts in Ontario, second only to Toronto.
Health experts, as well as local politicians, attribute the large number of infections and hospitalizations to the fact that many essential workers live in the region, especially in Brampton.
As of Sunday, the city’s test positivity rate stood at 22.2 per cent.
In total, 7,911 people have died in Ontario after contracting COVID-19. On Sunday, one additional death in a person under the age of 19 was noted, bringing the total number of people in that age group to die from COVID-19 to three.
A moment of silence was held at the Ontario legislature late Monday morning for the 13-year-old.
In a statement released earlier in the day, Premier Doug Ford said that his ” heart absolutely breaks for this family.”
“I can’t imagine the unbearable pain and sorrow they are feeling right now,” he said in a statement. “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.”