The 16-year-old Quebec died of complications of COVID-19 at a Montreal Children’s Hospital last week. This young man is the youngest person in the province to die of this disease.
Montreal Public Health officials said Wednesday that the death should not cause unnecessary concern about the safety of schools, explaining how the city has been successful in slowing the spread of infectious versions of COVID-19.
“I would tell parents that schools are safe and that sending our children to school is of great benefit to their development,” said Dr. Miley Drew, head of the Montreal Public Health Authority.
Deaths from COVID-19 and hospitalization are very rare in adolescents and children. Only one other person under the age of 20 in Quebec has died of the disease.
“Variations are more prevalent and affect younger people. We have seen earlier deaths in younger people, but 16 are actually much younger,” Droin said.
The death occurred on Saturday, according to the provincial public health research institute, INSPQ. Saint-Justin Children’s Hospital in Montreal did not release any other details about the patient, including whether they had a variation.
A hospital spokesman said in a statement confirming the death that “people who die at a young age from COVID-19 are generally seriously ill”, which was first reported by the French language television network TVA.
Stops the spread of variations
On Tuesday, the provincial government announced the reintroduction of a series of public health restrictions in the Montreal area aimed at restricting hospital admissions from COVID-19 strains.
Among the re-introduced activities was the participation of older high school students in live class on alternate days.
Druin said this would help in efforts to prevent large-scale explosions in schools. He noted that when variations began to appear in Montreal – P117, which is most prevalent in Quebec – there were several significant eruptions.
But the city, along with provincial officials, has taken an aggressive approach in cases where differences in schools are suspected. Having a case is enough to close a class. “We see a lot of small explosions now,” Druin said.
He added that Montreallers, in general, respect public health practices and cooperate with contact tracking investigations. He said it has helped the city to increase the number of new epidemics that have hit other parts of the province, such as Quebec City and Cattino.
But that doesn’t mean Montreal can avoid another lawsuit and hospitalization. The latest modeling by INSPQ indicates that cases are likely to rise significantly in the coming days, following hospital admissions by the end of the month.
Although severe cases of the disease are rare in adolescents and children, variants send people under the age of 60 to the hospital.
“What all the doctors are telling us is that significantly younger people – in their 40s and 50s – are more likely to be seriously ill in intensive care. And many of these people do not have pre-existing conditions,” Sonia Belanger said. Chief Executive Officer of the Health Authority in South-Central Montreal.