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Registered nurse working at long-term care home in London, Ont., dies due to COVID-19

Amber Beattie with her uncle Brian Beattie, the first registered nurse to die of COVID-19 in Canada.
Amber Beattie with her uncle Brian Beattie, the first registered nurse to die of COVID-19 in Canada. Supplied by Amber Beattie

A registered nurse working in a London, Ont., long-term care home has died due to COVID-19.

The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) issued a statement Tuesday, saying Brian Beattie, a registered nurse (RN) at Kensington Village had passed away. This marks the first nurse death in Ontario during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Toronto nurses open up about struggles, challenges amid pandemic

“I am devastated at the loss of Brian, who was a dedicated RN,” said ONA president Vicki McKenna.

“This is Nursing Week, a time in which we traditionally celebrate the profession… Instead, we are mourning the loss of a caring and skilled registered nurse.”

ONA says it is providing support to Beattie’s colleagues and staff.

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Several tributes and messages of condolence have been posted on social media, including one by the operator of Kismutt Rescue in St. Marys, Ontario.

Kensington Village released a statement Tuesday and confirmed Beattie had been off work and was seeking treatment for COVID-19.

“On behalf of Kensington Village, all our staff and our entire community we extend our thoughts and condolences to the family of this individual. We will work closely with the family to find the appropriate way to celebrate this individual who remains an important part of our family,” said in a joint statement from Leslie DuCharme Director of Operations, and Peter Schlegel President of Kensington Village.

Public Health confirmed the COVID-19 outbreak in Kensington Village on April 3. Since then, eight staff members have tested positive, seven of which have recovered completely.

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The home currently has three active resident cases of COVID-19, three residents that have recovered, and five residents have passed away.

The nursing home says they have been in close contact with public health officials on the most adequate way to manage the outbreak.

“We have been in daily contact with our partners at Public Health to ensure all new and ongoing care directives are implemented and are clearly communicated to all staff members. These measures include the isolation of residents to their rooms, providing in-room tray service for all meals and the monitoring of symptoms for all staff and residents at least twice daily.”

Ontario’s 1st nurse has passed away after contracting coronavirus
Ontario’s 1st nurse has passed away after contracting coronavirus

The Ministry of Labour has been called regarding the death and ONA says they will work with them throughout the investigation.

“This is a tragedy for all of us,” said McKenna.

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“(Beattie) was the definition of dedication, and he considered his colleagues and residents to be his ‘other family.’ … He will be deeply missed by his colleagues and the residents he cared for.

As of Tuesday in London-Middlesex, there are 458 cases of the novel coronavirus, which includes 45 deaths and 303 recoveries.