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York Region marks first death of a health-care worker due to COVID-19 (Update)

Six of York Region's 63 new cases are in Newmarket, which has 81 cases in total as of today, April 17

A Markham personal support worker is the first York Region frontline health-care worker to die of COVID-19.

The 54-year-old woman, who worked in a long-term care facility in Toronto, died Wednesday, April 15, according to York Region public health.

Christine Mandegarian had worked at Sienna Altamont Care Community in Scarborough, according to a statement issued Friday night by Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare.

"A dedicated personal support worker for 31 years, Christine’s colleagues described her as loving, caring, and compassionate toward absolutely everyone she cared for at Sienna Altamont Care Community in Scarborough. Christine will be missed and remembered," SEIU said. "We’re offering Christine’s family whatever support they need during this extremely difficult time."

"This tragic death is a difficult reminder of the very real dangers health-care workers face in the selfless delivery of care for Ontario families, as well as the support and protection that they need immediately."

"Individuals working on the frontlines of this global pandemic are our true heroes," said York Region chair and CEO Wayne Emmerson, in a statement expressing condolences to the health-care worker's family, colleagues and loved ones.

Among the 63 new cases reported today is a Markham health-care worker, bringing the total number in the region to 52.

The breakdown by community of infected health-care workers, which includes physicians, nurses and paramedics, is: seven in Newmarket; one in Aurora, three in Whitchurch-Stouffville; five in Richmond Hill, 13 in Vaughan; and 23 in Markham.

York Region is reporting a total of 968 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 46 deaths. Newmarket now has a total of 81 confirmed cases, with six more cases today.

The number of COVID-19 outbreaks at community care facilities has increased from 11 to 15, with the addition of Christian Horizons Keswick, Christian Horizons in Richmond Hill, Halsey Lodge Adult Care Facility in Jackson's Point, and Reena Home Lebovic in Thornhill.

The public health unit is reporting a swath of outbreaks across the region — at 13 long-term care homes and 15 community care settings in Newmarket, Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Keswick, Pefferlaw, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, Markham and Vaughan.

Among the 13 long-term care facilities and retirement homes under COVID-19 protocols are Southlake Residential Care Village, Eagle Terrace Long-Term Care Home and Mackenzie Place Long-Term Care in Newmarket, and Chartwell Aurora Long-Term Care Residence.

Of the 968 cases in York Region:

  • 436 are confirmed in Vaughan (+ 31 today), 13 deaths;
  • 243 in Markham (+ 11 today), 25 deaths;
  • 101 in Richmond Hill (+ 3 today), 3 deaths;
  • 81 in Newmarket (+ 8 today), 2 deaths; 
  • 46 in Aurora (+ 6 today), 1 death;
  • 18 in King, 2 deaths;
  • 14 in Whitchurch-Stouffville (+ 1 today);
  • 14 in East Gwillimbury (+ 1 today);
  • 13 in Georgina (+ 1 today).

The number of hospitalized patients in York Region increased from 43 to 45 today, with 20 cases critically ill in ICU. 

Resolved cases in the region now tally 126, an increase from 12 to 13 per cent of the total 968 cases.

As of 4:30 p.m. April 17, Southlake Regional Health Centre is reporting six COVID-19 patients in ICU, with one under investigation. Seven COVID-19 patients are in an inpatient unit. The number of patients under investigation for COVID-19 is 20. Total deaths remain at five.


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Debora Kelly

About the Author: Debora Kelly

Debora Kelly is NewmarketToday's editor. She is an award-winning journalist and communications professional who is passionate about building strong communities through engagement, advocacy and partnership.
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