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UPDATE: Second COVID-19 death confirmed in Barrie, health workers exposed

There is now also evidence of community spread

Another COVID-19 patient at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) has died this morning. 

Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, confirmed the second death in the region was an Alberta man in his 70s who had been hospitalized at RVH since March 11. 

The man’s case was reported by the health unit on March 16 and is connected to the other death of a man also in his 70s at the Barrie hospital on March 11. 

Gardner said the two men had “frequent, prolonged exposure to each other in the community,” but would not comment on their relationship. 

The first death was confirmed by a coroner to be caused by COVID-19. Gardner said in this second case, the coroner was satisfied with the information provided by the hospital and did not require an autopsy to confirm COVID-19 as the cause of death. 

Both men had pre-existing health conditions. 

This is the third reported COVID-19 death in the province.

Janice Skot, president and CEO of RVH, said there were about 80 employees and physicians at the hospital who were possibly exposed to the two fatal COVID-19 cases. The hospital is following up with each of them individually. 

Skot said some, but not all, will have to self-isolate depending on their location and experience in the hospital relative to the COVID-19 cases. 

Gardner also confirmed a new case in the region (bringing the area’s total to nine confirmed cases) in a Bradford West Gwillimbury woman in her 30s. She presented at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket on March 17 and was hospitalized. Gardner said her condition is serious. 

She has no travel history and has not been in contact with a previously confirmed case, so it’s likely she contracted the virus through community spread. 

“We are seeing evidence of community-acquired infection,” said Gardner. “Thus I want to emphasize again the importance of these control measures such as social distancing ... it's important for people to be very supportive and compliant.

"This is the time for all of us to flatten the curve and reduce the impact."

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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