Health officials report COVID-19-related death of child under 10 in Ontario's Waterloo Region
A child under the age of 10, who Waterloo Region's medical officer of health said had underlying health conditions, has died due to COVID-19.
Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang confirmed the child's death at the region's weekly COVID-19 briefing on Friday morning.
"The child had underlying health conditions," Wang said. "There were no school-related or childcare-related exposures in this case."
Wang said she is not aware of a younger death reported in Ontario to date, and said this is the first death in the under 10 age group in Waterloo Region. However, she didn't provide any further specifics about the age of the child who died.
She said this is a "rare, tragic circumstance" that serves as a "devastating reminder of the serious nature of this virus."
"This is a heartbreaking loss and I wish to express my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and loved ones," Wang added.
Premier Doug Ford tweeted about the death, saying it is "absolutely gut-wrenching."
"My prayers are with the family at this excruciatingly difficult time," his tweet said. "This virus know no bounds. It's why we need every eligible Ontarian to get vaccinated — to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and those who can’t yet get vaccinated against COVID-19."
Health Minister Christine Elliott addressed the death at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
"I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the child in Waterloo Region who passed away due to COVID-19," she said. "This is a truly tragic situation and not only is it a heartbreaking loss to the community, it is also a devastating remind of the serious consequences of COVID. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the friends and family at this time."
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also addressed the death at a campaign stop in Kitchener on Friday.
"Before I start, I just want to take a moment as a dad, as a leader, as a prime minister, to express my deepest condolences to the Waterloo Region family that just lost their child to COVID," he said. "We've all been heartbroken by that news this morning and they need to know that we all stand with them and are grieving with them through this unbelievably difficult time."
Wang again called on residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are able.
"The best way that we have as a community to protect our children who are not yet vaccinated is to vaccinate all of those around them and to keep up those public health precautions," she said.