16-year-old boy dies of COVID-19 in Montreal hospital
MONTREAL -- The Ste-Justine Hospital in Montreal confirmed Wednesday that a 16-year-old boy has died of COVID-19.
The hospital told CTV News the patient died on April 3, but did not release any further details.
In a statement, hospital spokesperson Florence Meney said that generally speaking, "people who die at a young age of COVID-19 are generally people who have major comorbidities."
Meney said she was unable to provide further details about the youth's death due to privacy concerns. The hospital expressed its condolences to his family.
The teen is the youngest person to die of COVID-19 in Quebec. Last August, the virus claimed the life of Don Béni Kabangu Nsapu, who was 19. He died Aug. 16 at the Pierre-Le Gardeur Hospital in Terrebonne.
The variants of the virus are known to be more dangerous overall than the original COVID-19 virus, and some of them are also said to affect young people more.
But in a broader press conference on Thursday, Montreal public health director Dr. Mylene Drouin said that it's still true that young people tend to get less sick than older people, even with the variants.
"We know that the variant is circulating in daycares and in schools," she said.
"At the same time, even with the variant, we see that children have a less severe form of the illness, and when we see [a] severe form, in young person, often they have comorbidities, so they have other chronic ilness that make them more vulnerable for those forms."
She said she wanted to assure parents that schools are safe.
In Ontario, doctors are reporting that the virus variants are creating a new wave of very sick, relatively young patients, but they're generally describing young adults around their 30s and 40s.
In late March, a two-year-old was hospitalized with complications from COVID-19 in the Bas-St-Laurent region.
At the time, Quebec public health expert and pediatrician Dr. Caroline Quach said that there's no data yet to suggest that the variants are more dangerous to young children.
"We do not have, at this point, any evidence that the new variants of concern are more dangerous for children," Quach said.
"They are more transmissible, which does not mean that we will have more complications. Surveillance of outcomes is necessary and with time, we will know. But right now, it doesn’t seem to be that way."
--With files from CTV's Selena Ross