Ontario man becomes first Canadian registered nurse to die of coronavirus

A Canadian RN has died from COVID-19 and people are remembering him for his commitment to helping others and his sense of humour.

The first case of a Canadian registered nurse dying from coronavirus has been reported in Ontario and people are remembering him for his commitment to helping others and his sense of humour.

Brian Beattie worked at a long-term care facility called Kensington Village located in London, Ontario. The 57-year-old was among numerous staff who tested positive for coronavirus at the facility, according to CBC News.

Beattie’s niece described his commitment to helping others in a statement on Wednesday.

"My family is devastated," reads the statement from Amber Beattie. "We did not see him often, due to his dedication to his work, but we all spoke to him frequently via phone calls or texts. The times spent with him included a few drinks, some swear words, and lots of laughter! He had an amazing sense of humour, just as my grandparents always did and my dad does.”

"He was dedicated to his work. He loved his job—we always knew that. However, since his passing, hearing all the stories from colleagues and those he cared for truly opens our eyes on how much he touched others' lives."

The national president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses, Linda Silas was able to confirm that Beattie is the first registered nurse in Canada to die because of the virus.

Silas said Beattie was hospitalized very quickly after contracting the virus.

"We knew that we had a nurse that was on a ventilator," said Silas, "and we know that there are more than one nurse on ventilators, we just don't know the details."

Silas commended Beattie’s continuous dedication to his work throughout the pandemic which has been extremely hard on many long-term care homes in the country.

"He called his colleagues and his residents his 'other family,' and that is so typical of long-term care workers," Silas said. "They continue to go to work because they're dealing with their second families, and Brian was like that."

Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario's Minister of Long-Term Care shared her sadness upon hearing about Beattie’s passing.

"Words cannot express my sincere appreciation for all our health-care heroes working tirelessly every day to stop COVID-19, and to keep us all safe," she said in a statement.

Leslie DuCharme, the director of operations at Kensington Village released a statement saying that eight staff members at the facility have tested positive for coronavirus. An outbreak was first declared on April 3 and five residents have died since then. Three residents currently have the illness and three have recovered.

"This death is felt deeply by our residents and our care team, and we mourn together as a community," said DuCharme.

Ontario now has 174 long-term care homes facing outbreaks which have resulted in over 1,200 coronavirus deaths.

Premier Doug Ford said there will be a review of Ontario’s long-term care system though he denied the request for a public inquiry from the New Democrats.