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Fifth Ontario personal support worker dies after COVID-19 contract

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Toronto-
A fifth union worker in Ontario died after contracting COVID-19 at work, a trade union representing thousands of Ontario health workers said Thursday.

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A Unifor spokesperson confirmed the death of 61-year-old Leonard Rodriquez, an employee of Access Independent Living Services, who served people who needed physical support.

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According to the trade union, Rodriquez worked at an access apartment in York Square near Kiel Street and Eglinton Avenue West.

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“I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to his family, and his union sisters and brothers working for Access Independent Living Services,” said Jerry Diaz, President of Nationals in the Union. “Our members have been providing care for people in need for over 30 years. He will be truly lonely from the Unifous family and everyone who knows him.”

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According to the union, Rodriquez was sent to home quarantine on April 6 after one of his colleagues tested positive for the virus.

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While in quarantine, his condition worsened, said Unifor. Rodriquez was virus positive on April 26, according to the union. He died 10 days later.

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Unifor, representing 80 members of Access Independent Living Services, said five members and three clients working in the same building were infected with the virus.

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“We can see that one of our independent living assistants died yesterday,” said Michael Matheson, executive director of Access Independent Living Services. “We are heartbroken. Our thoughts and sympathies were with our family during this difficult time.

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“To comply with legal privacy requirements and respect individuals and their families, Access Independent Living Services does not provide any further comments at this time.”

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COVID-19 has now killed four personal assistance workers in the Greater Toronto area. On May 1, 59-year-old Sharon Roberts died of a virus after working for 24 years in long-term care in Downsview. 51-year-old Arlene Reid, who worked for the Victorian Nurse of Nurses in Peel, and 54-year-old Christine Mandegalian, who worked in the Altamont Care community, also died at COVID-19.

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The man is the seventh health care worker to die from a virus in Ontario.

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Last Thursday, Ottawa Personal Support Worker It was reported that he died of COVID-19.

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Siena Senior Living, who runs the Madonna Care community in Ottawa, confirmed the death of CTV News staff.

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“It’s a shame to announce the death of an important team member in the Madonna Care community in Orleans,” Siena Senior Living said in a statement.

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“He is a loved and respected team member and will be missed by his colleagues and the people he takes care of.”

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At nursing homes, deaths from COVID-19 continued to be reported on Thursday.

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Pickering’s nursing home, Orchard Villa, recorded three more deaths, bringing the total to 63 deaths.

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Hawthorne Place Care Center, a long-term care facility near Jane Street and Fincia Avenue West, reported an additional three deaths Thursday.

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Thirty-one inhabitants of a North York facility have been killed by the virus.

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Orchard Villa and Hawthorne Place Care Center are among the facilities supported by the Canadian Armed Forces.

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Another death has been reported at Mark Haven Home for the Markham senior. Mayor Frank Scarpitti confirmed the death of an 84-year-old male resident on Twitter Thursday night.

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At least 18 residents in the Markham nursing home.

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Ontario has reported an outbreak of COVID-19 on 174 long-term facilities as of Thursday. There are 2,831 cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes, and 1,671 staff are virus positive.

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More than 1,100 nursing home residents died of COVID-19.

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