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Durham doctor and husband who contracted U.K. variant now facing charges

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WATCH: The Durham couple who public health officials say were the first known individuals in Canada to contract the U.K. variant of COVID-19 are now facing provincial charges. – Jan 21, 2021

Global News has confirmed the Durham couple who public health officials say were the first known individuals in Canada to contract the U.K. variant of COVID-19 are now facing charges.

It comes after Ontario Public Health alleged the couple did in fact come in contact with a traveler from Britain.

Brian and Martina Weir are each facing three charges under the Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario. The legislation is intended to prevent the spread of disease and has been used to enforce COVID-19-related restrictions.

According to Durham Health, when the couple initially tested positive in December, they told officials they had no exposure to the U.K. through travel or high-risk contacts.

Read more: Durham couple who first tested positive for U.K. COVID variant under ‘active investigation’

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The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario lists Martina as an active doctor, currently practicing at three Durham hospitals and two long-term care homes in Durham, including Fairview Lodge in Whitby and Hillsdale Terraces in Oshawa. Both homes are operated by the region.

Durham communications officer Melissa Westover said in a statement “this individual’s engagement with us as a contractor is under review and they will not be doing any work for the region until such review is complete.”

The region says Martina did not work in the homes between Dec. 11 and Jan. 17.

“There are no concerns about risk to residents related to this matter as per public health guidance,” Westover said.

Meanwhile, Lakeridge Health says “the physician did not enter any Lakeridge Health facilities during December and did not work or provide patient care at any Lakeridge Health hospital during the month of December.”

Read more: Ontario confirms Canada’s 1st known cases of U.K. coronavirus variant

Staff with CPSO told Global News this was a unique situation and any public complaints brought forward to them are thoroughly investigated.

There are currently reports stating Brian Weir works for Toronto Paramedic Services.

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When asked to confirm this information, the organization said “we do not provide personal information in respect of our staff. We can confirm that Mr. Weir does not currently work in a public facing position.”

However, U of T bioethicist Kerry Bowman says health-care workers have a higher moral obligation to obey public health protocols.

Read more: Community spread of new COVID-19 variants may be happening in Canada: Tam

“You have an elevated responsibility,” Bowman said.

“That’s driven by the safety and well-being of our patients. It’s also really driven by the importance of trust in the health-care system.”

Brian is scheduled to appear in court March 10.