Nurse working at Ontario long-term care home dies after contracting COVID-19

TORONTO — An Ontario nurse who worked at a long-term care home in Mississauga has died after contracting COVID-19.

SEIU Healthcare, a union representing more than 60,000 front-line health-care workers in the province, confirmed the death of 57-year-old Maureen Ambersley on Wednesday.

Ambersley spent the last 16 years as a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), the union said, and was recently employed at Extendicare Mississauga.

“Maureen represented everything good about what it means to serve your community,” SEIU President Sharleen Stewart said in a statement. “For her last birthday she encouraged friends to make donations to SickKids Hospital Foundation. Maureen dedicated her working life to caring for our most vulnerable as a nurse in long-term care.”

The union said that Ambersley is leaving behind parents and two children.

Stewart also confirmed that Ambersley is the fourth member of their union to die during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christine Mandegarian, a personal support worker of 31 years, died in April 24 hours after testing positive for the disease. Arlene Reid, 51, also died in April. She was a personal support worker in Peel Region.

North York RPN Sharon Roberts, 59, tested positive for the disease on April 27 and died five days later.

Stewart said the health-care workers “were all women of colour serving on the frontline who died because they showed up to work in service of their community.”

“It must be said that the death of health-care workers is preventable and the result of ongoing policy failures,” she said.

“As Ontario families bury more workers and residents in long-term care, we reiterate our demand of the provincial government for a new action plan to get us through this out-of-control crisis.”

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