The fifth personal support worker in Ontario has died after contracting COVID-19 at work, a union representing thousands of Ontario health care workers said Thursday.
A spokesman for Unifor confirmed the death of 61-year-old Leonard Rodriquez who is an employee of Access Independent Living Services, which provides services for people with physical support needs.
The union said Rodriquez worked at Access Apartments in York Square, located near Keele Street and Eglinton Avenue West.
“I want to express my deepest sympathy to his family, and his brothers and sisters who work for Access Independent Living Services,” Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor, said in a statement. “Our members have worked for more than thirty years providing care for those in need. He will be truly missed, by his Unifor family and everyone who knows him. “
Rodriquez was sent home on April 6 after one of his coworkers tested positive for the virus, the union said.
While in isolation, Unifor said, the symptoms worsened. Rodriquez tested positive for the virus on April 26, the union said. He died ten days later.
Unifor, which represents 80 members at Access Independent Living Services, said five more members working in the same building and three clients had contracted the virus.
“I can confirm that one of our Independent Living Assistants died yesterday,” Michael Mathieson, executive director of Access Independent Living Services, said in a statement. “We are heartbroken. Our thoughts and condolences with the family during this difficult time.
“To comply with legislative privacy requirements and to respect individuals and their families, Access Independent Living Services will not provide further comment at this time.”
COVID-19 has now killed four personal support workers in the Greater Toronto Area. On May 1, 59-year-old Sharon Roberts who worked at Downsview Long Term Care for 24 years died from a virus. Arlene Reid, 51, who worked at the Victoria Order of Nurses in Peel and 54-year-old Christine Mandegarian who worked at Altamont Care Community also died of COVID-19.
The man is the seventh health care worker in Ontario who died of the virus.
Earlier on Thursday, a Ottawa personal support worker reportedly died due to COVID-19.
Sienna Senior Living, who operates the Madonna Care Community in Ottawa, confirmed the death of a staff member for CTV News.
“We are very sad to announce the death of a valuable team member in the Madonna Care Community in Orleans,” Sienna Senior Living said in a statement.
“He is a member of a team that is loved and respected and will be missed by his colleagues and residents he cared for.”
Long-term care homes continue to report more COVID-19 deaths on Thursday.
Orchard Villa, a long-term Pickering nursing home, recorded three more deaths, bringing the facility’s death toll to 63.
Hawthorne Place Care Center, a long-term care home near Jane Street and Finch Avenue West, reported three more deaths on Thursday.
Thirty-one residents at the North York facility have now died from the virus.
Orchard Villa and Hawthorne Place Care Center are some of the facilities that receive support from the Canadian Armed Forces.
Another death has been reported at Markhaven Home for Seniors in Markham. Mayor Frank Scarpitti confirmed the death of an 84-year-old man on Twitter late Thursday.
At least 18 residents in Markham’s long-term care home.
Ontario reported the COVID-19 outbreak in 174 long-term facilities on Thursday. There were 2,831 cases of COVID-19 among long-term care homes and 1,671 staff members tested positive for the virus.
More than 1,100 long-term nursing home residents have died from COVID-19.