Alberta health-care aide dies from COVID-19; fundraiser set up for man's family

·2 min read

CALGARY — Alberta's health minister says the province has lost its first health-care worker due to COVID-19.

Tyler Shandro said in a statement Monday that he was saddened to hear about the death and extends his condolences to the man's family, friends and colleagues.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said Joe Marie (Jing) Corral died on Dec. 28.

"He was 61 years old," said union vice-president Bobby-Joe Borodey. "His family shared with me that he was in relatively good health and the (Workers' Compensation Board) has, in fact, confirmed or at least agreed that he contracted COVID while at work."

Corral was a health-care aide at Calgary's Bethany Riverview continuing-care facility, which currently has an outbreak of COVID-19.

Borodey said it's a terrible loss.

"The loss of anyone at any time is tragic, but what this really does is bring to the forefront that this pandemic is real," she said. "It's scary and this is something that (health-care workers) deal with daily.

"This is incredibly, incredibly unfortunate and our hearts go out to his family, his friends and his co-workers but COVID is real, this pandemic is real, and working in these positions is dangerous."

Corral leaves behind a daughter in Burnaby, B.C., and a son in Edmonton.

Family members said in a statement released by the union that they are grateful for the support.

"We cannot thank enough those whom have offered their condolences, resources and financial support."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with the funeral and other costs. It has raised about $5,000 so far.

At least a dozen other health-care workers have died across Canada, mostly in Ontario and Quebec, since the pandemic began.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press