Health-care workers and members of Winnipeg’s Congolese community are mourning the death of a health-care aide, which public health officials confirm is connected to a COVID-19 outbreak at Victoria General Hospital.
“One of our own has fallen,” Manitoba Shared Health Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said at a news conference on Monday.
Jean Claude Dianzenza, 61, worked as a health-care aide at the hospital. He also served as president of the Congolese Association of Manitoba.
The president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 204 told CBC News the health-care aide worked on the fifth floor, where outbreaks have been declared in two units.
“This is very devastating to us. This is going to cause a ripple effect across the health-care system,” said Debbie Boissonneault.
Boissonneault questioned whether the aide was adequately protected at work.
“You have people at work and they’re wearing masks, they’re supposed to be protected and we feel that they’re not being protected,” she said.
The Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals issued a statement expressing condolences on the death of the health-care aide and calling for increased safety measures for health workers.
“While we may work in different parts of the health care system, we are all health care and we all care about each other, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic that has become so deadly in our province,” said president Bob Moroz in the written statement.
44 health-care workers positive for COVID-19 last week
The outbreak at the hospital was first declared on Oct. 22. As of Nov. 9, 68 people had become infected as a result of the outbreak, and eight people have died, according to provincial data.
Siragusa said 44 health-care workers tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week: 36 in the Winnipeg health region, five in Southern Health, two in Prairie Mountain and one in the north.
The health-care workers who tested positive included 22 nurses, four doctors or doctors in training and 15 allied health or support staff. Three haven’t yet been identified.
Boissonneault said everyone, including the government, needs to step up and do better.
“We need to protect people every day and not wait for someone to pass, in the workplace. Nobody goes to work not wanting to come home,” she said.
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