A fifth personal support worker in Ontario has died after contracting COVID-19 at work, a union representing thousands of Ontario health workers said on Thursday.
A Unifor spokesperson confirmed the death of a 61-year-old Leonard Rodriguez, who was an employee of Access Independent Living Services, which provides services to people with physical support needs.
The union said the man worked at Access Apartments in York Square, near Keele Street and Eglinton Avenue West.
“I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family and his union brothers and sisters who work for Access Independent Living Services,” said Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor in a statement. “Our members have worked for over thirty years to provide care for those in need. He will be truly missed, by his Unifor family and all those who knew him. “
The man was sent home to isolate himself on April 6 after one of his colleagues tested positive for the virus, the union said.
While he was isolated, Unifor said, the man’s symptoms worsened. He tested positive for the virus on April 26, the union said. The man died ten days later.
Unifor, which represents 80 members of Access Independent Living Services, said five other members who worked in the same building and three customers had contracted the virus.
“I can confirm that one of our independent living assistants died yesterday,” said Michael Mathieson, executive director of Access Independent Living Services, in a statement. “We are heartbroken. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family during this difficult time.
“In order to comply with legislative confidentiality requirements and out of respect for the individual and their family, Access Independent Living Services will not provide any further comments at this time.”
COVID-19 has now killed four personal support workers in the Greater Toronto Area. On May 1, Sharon Roberts, 59, who worked at Downsview Long Term Care for 24 years, died of the virus. Arlene Reid, 51, who worked at the Victorian Order of Nurses in Peel, and Christine Mandegarian, 54, who worked at Altamont Care Community, also died from COVID-19.
The man is the seventh health care worker in Ontario who has died from the virus.
Earlier on Thursday, an Ottawa personal support worker died of COVID-19.
Sienna Senior Living, who operates the Madonna Care Community in Ottawa, has confirmed the death of a CTV News staff member.
“We are very sad to announce the passing of a valued member of the Madonna Care Community team in Orleans,” said Sienna Senior Living in a statement.
“He was a loved and respected team member and will be missed by his colleagues and the residents he cared for.”
Long-term care homes continued to report more deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday.
Orchard Villa, a long-term care home in Pickering, recorded three more deaths, bringing the number of deaths at the facility to 63.
The 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 of this North York facility are now dead from the virus.
Orchard Villa and Hawthorne Place Care Center are among the institutions supported by 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 Twitter resident on Thursday evening.
At least 18 residents of this Markham long-term care home.
Ontario is reporting COVID-19 outbreaks in 174 long-term facilities on Thursday. There are 2,831 cases of COVID-19 among long-term care homes and 1,671 staff have tested positive for the virus.
More than 1,100 residents of long-term care homes have died from COVID-19.