Personal support worker who served Mississauga patients dies of COVID-19

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Published April 30, 2020 at 1:06 pm

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A 51-year-old personal support worker who was part of the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) in the Region of Peel has died of COVID-19, her union says. 

SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline health care workers in Ontario, recently announced that it’s mourning the loss of its second member as a result of COVID-19. 

Multiple media reports have identified the worker as Arlene Reid. 

The union extended sympathies to her family and colleagues.

A chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) also took to Twitter to offer condolences on behalf of its members. 

“The tragic death of our union sister is the second loss of a personal support worker (PSW) in as many weeks as a result of ongoing failures to protect healthcare workers during COVID-19,” Sharleen Stewart, SEIU Healthcare president, said in a statement. 

“Like many healthcare workers precariously employed, she was a dedicated PSW who served her community through multiple employers and facilities in the Peel Region.”

Stewart said that the union has spoken to Reid’s family to offer whatever support is needed as they grieve the loss. 

“She will be missed and remembered,” Stewart wrote. 

In the statement, the union says that health and safety protections, PPE protocols, and government directives have insufficiently protected PSWs from ongoing threats, whether they work in home care, long-term care, or hospitals, since the start of the pandemic. 

“While requests for urgent discussions with Chief Medical Officer Williams have gone ignored, we will continue to demand greater protections for PSWs and all our healthcare heroes who work to keep the rest of us safe and secure,” the union’s statement reads. 

SEIU Healthcare’s members work in hospitals, home care, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province.

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