London, Ont. teen's cause of death remains classified as COVID-19-related
LONDON, ONT. -- The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) says questions about the exact cause of 19-year-old Yassin Dabeh's death will not be answered.
"There won't be an autopsy done on this individual and there are questions whether this is somebody who died of COVID or died with COVID," says Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health for MLHU. "Unfortunately we won't get answers to that."
The MLHU did however have to classify his death in their COVID-19 reporting Saturday. Mackie says the MLHU is required to follow provincial guidelines.
"If you've got a situation where COVID could have...contributed to the death, it's considered to be a COVID-related death and it's reported in our death counts."
Dabeh moved to London, Ont. from Syria in 2016. He was working as a contracted cleaner at Middlesex Terrace in Delaware, Ont.
He is one of the youngest people in Canada to die with COVID-19. He died Jan. 21 and was buried the next day.
"Dr. (Alex) Summers and I both each spoke with coroner on Sunday, but we won't be getting additional information and an autopsy will not be performed," says Mackie.
"This is, in part because, you know, the family's chosen to proceed with the burial and there won't be an autopsy for that reason."
Dabeh did test positive for COVID-19 in the past four weeks, though the teen's infectious period had ended. It is unclear whether he had any underlying health conditions.
HIs family is confirmed to also have the virus. That includes three children as well as Yassin's mother and father.
Ahmad Dabeh, the father of Yassin, will speak to the media about his son's death on Tuesday; CTV News will be covering the press conference scheduled for 10 a.m.
CTV News spoke with Yassin's brother Monday and he says his mother came home from hospital on Sunday. His father is staying by her side "in case she needs anything."
His brother says he is the only one in the family feeling OK because he doesn't live there.
He says he is sad because Yassin was "a nice guy."
Mackie says there has been situations where a COVID-19-related death report has been retracted.
"If there's a situation where the individual clearly died of a cause unrelated to COVID, and it can be excluded," says Mackie.
"We've had to do that before when it was later confirmed that the individual died of other causes. But that's going to be fairly clear cut. You can imagine that COVID can contribute to exacerbation of a number of diseases and if that's the case, then it is something that is counted as a COVID death."
He also went on to shoot down any conspiracy theorists who accuse the MLHU of inflating the COVID19 numbers.
"Anyone who looks closely at facts can see that's not the case," says Mackie. "We always have to balance the rights of the individual to privacy with right and need to inform the public. So that's a balance we are working with every day. I'm quite comfortable with how we manage that balance."