Public health confirms first COVID-19 death in Guelph

GUELPH – Public health has confirmed the region’s first COVID-19 death.

On April 2, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) officials stated “an individual in their 80s” has died in Guelph.

“Out of respect for the family of deceased, no further information will be provided on the individual at this time,” states a WDGPH press release.

In an interview later that day, Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO of WDGPH, said it’s not unexpected for elderly patients to die from the virus, “but at the same time, it’s heartbreaking.

“That’s why we emphasize that older adults should stay home. If you have adult children or younger friends, have them deliver your groceries. Stay home.”

It’s also why long-term care and retirement homes have strict visitor restrictions in place.

“For older adults in institutions, the best protection is to not visit them. There are ways to connect, just not physically,” Mercer said.

“And we try to get seniors out of hospital as soon as we can. Hospitals are not safe places to be right now.”

As of April 2, there were 51 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the health unit’s jurisdiction – seven in Wellington County, 16 in Dufferin County, and 27 in Guelph.

Five patients are in hospital, two in ICU, and 31 are self-isolating at home.

WDGPH officials say they will continue to “work with health care providers, hospitals and long-term care providers during these unprecedented times.”