A 23-month-old Queensland toddler died from COVID-19, just two weeks before her second birthday and days before the arrival of a baby brother.
Ruby Grace Edwards died on Sunday at Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane after the COVID-19 virus triggered a rare autoimmune condition, which caused her immune system to attack her brain.
Ruby’s father Steven Edwards, who is also battling COVID-19, has shared the family’s grief, urging all parents to “hug their children a little bit tighter tonight”.
“It feels like the world is falling apart for us right now, as we prepare for the arrival of our son this Friday,” he wrote on Facebook.
“This is supposed to be such a happy time where our family would become complete but is now so broken.”
Edwards said he’s overwhelmed by feelings of “deep sadness, anger, disbelief, denial, guilt, shame and regret”.
“We, all of us, need to love and support each other through this unimaginably tough time,” he said.
“If you have children of your own, please hug them a little bit tighter tonight.”
An online fundraiser set up for the family has so far raised over $17,500.
Queensland Health confirmed the child’s death last night.
Ruby is the youngest COVID-19 patient fatality in Queensland.
COVID-19 wave in Queensland
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed the state’s hospitalisation rate will likely peak at 1,660 patients during the incoming COVID-19 wave, close to 50 per cent more severe than the previous one.
Health experts initially forecast a peak of 1000 Queenslanders hospitalised during the current wave, but the latest modelling shows that number is an underestimation.
“The peak is expected to be in late August, thankfully it does not predict an increase of patients in intensive care,” Palaszczuk said.
“This is very serious and I want Queenslanders to take it seriously.”
Queensland’s Australian Medical Association President, Dr Maria Boulton, said the Government was warned about the wave but didn’t prepare.
“I cannot tell you how many times I’ve met with them and asked for more resources for those on the frontline,” she said.
The TGA has also declared a number of RAT tests will be removed from shelves over concerns they may not be detecting all COVID-19 strains.
COVClear COVID-19 Antigen Test, NowCheck, COVIFIND and BD Veritor System for Rapid Detection have all been deemed unreliable.
Queenslanders have been urged to get PCR tests instead.