A 19-year-old man who worked as a cleaner at a long-term care home outside of London, Ont. died Thursday after contracting COVID-19.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit confirmed his death on Saturday as it reported 50 new cases and two other fatalities.
CTV News spoke to the family and friends of the teen, who has been identified as Yassin Dabeh. He worked as a contract cleaner at Middlesex Terrace in Delaware, Ont.
Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health, said Dabeh likely got infected while working at the nursing home. He noted that there had been a number of outbreaks at long-term care facilities in his region as a result of high community transmission.
“It is a reminder about how much transmission we have seen in congregate care settings that house seniors like long-term care across this province and across the country, and certainly emphasizes how important these early vaccination efforts are, and how important outbreak interventions are as well,” Summers said in an interview with CP24.
While it is rare to see COVID-19 deaths among young people, it does happen, Summers said.
“The unfortunate reality is that as the total number of cases of COVID-19 increases, and we’ve certainly seen high watermarks across the province and here in our region as well, that the chance that someone of a younger age may have a severe outcome like that from COVID-19 goes up,” he said.
“We’re certainly in sorrow here in our region at this time.”
His death is the second COVID-19 fatality reported in a person under the age of 20 in Ontario. In June, Toronto Public Health announced that a girl under the age of 10 died after testing positive for the virus.
However, at the time, the case was under investigation because officials said she died of health complications unrelated to COVID-19.
As for the COVID-19 situation in the region, Summers said he is encouraged to see cases coming down slightly. He added that infections in Middlesex-London peaked two weeks ago.
“I think we’re seeing the impacts of the lockdown starting to take hold in our area,” he said.
Ontario entered a provincewide lockdown after Christmas as COVID-19 cases soared to record highs. The government further introduced measures – a stay-at-home order and a second state of emergency – earlier this month to curb futher spread of the virus.
On Saturday, the province posted 2,359 new COVID-19 cases and 52 more deaths.