Brampton hospital cleaner becomes first Ont. health-care worker to die of COVID-19

Published April 9, 2020 1:58 p.m. ET
Updated April 16, 2020 7:18 p.m. ET

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TORONTO -- A long-time cleaner at Brampton’s Civic Hospital has died of COVID-19, marking the first known death of a health-care worker in the province due to the virus.

Peel Region Public Health said that early on Thursday, a man in his 50s who worked as an environmental services associate at the hospital for many years died of the virus.

“He had been in intensive care at Brampton Civic. An investigation revealed he likely acquired the virus in the community and not at work,” officials said.

Peel Region had 786 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, and 10 deaths.

“Every loss of life to COVID-19 is tragic. On behalf of the Region of Peel, I extend our deepest condolences to his family both at home and at work,” Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s Interim Medical Officer of Health said. “He played an important role in keeping the health care system working, and we mourn his loss.”

Loh told CP24 health officials believed the man acquired the virus in the community.

“We conducted thorough exposure assessment. As far as we could tell, there was no specific link to the hospital or any healthcare setting,” Loh said.

He said the hospital is implementing enhanced measures to protect its staff from the virus. It includes enhanced screening measures, increased personal protective measures for staff and limiting the number of visitors.

It is also important that the community continue to stay at home and follow physical distancing rules to keep frontline workers from getting COVID-19, Loh said.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said the man’s death is “heartbreaking.”

“This is a healthy 58-year-old individual who is a dedicated employee of Brampton Civic. It hits home. It shows you how dangerous COVID-19 is.

“This pandemic is affecting people in our own backyard.”

As of Thursday, the case fatality rate for people aged 40 to 59 has been 0.7 per cent, with 13 people in the age group succumbing to the disease.

COVID-19 outbreak at Mississauga Hospital

Several healthcare workers in the Medicine Unit 4B at Trillium Health Partners-Mississauga Hospital have contracted the virus, hospital officials said Thursday.

In a news release, officials said the staff members tested positive for COVID-19 between March 26 and April 5.

“Our initial investigation suggests staff members acquired COVID-19 in the community and from other sources, at different times. We are taking this situation very seriously,” the hospital officials said.

The hospital did not provide the exact number of members who have the virus but said there are less than ten.

An outbreak has been declared at the hospital following consultation with Peel Public Health. Hospital officials said all patients in the unit are being notified and are being monitored.

“As a result of we have taken additional precautions on this unit, including closing the unit to any new admissions, enhanced cleaning on the unit, and increased education on the use of personal protective equipment, increased washing of hands and physical distancing,” the hospital said.

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