First Quebec doctor dies of COVID-19

A 44-year-old specialist from Quebec’s Montérégie region has become the first medical doctor in Quebec known to have died of complications from COVID-19.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s public health director, confirmed the doctor’s death at the province’s daily briefing on the pandemic Thursday.

He said the doctor had not been treating patients. 

“This health-care worker did not work in hospital or long-term care facilities — he got the disease somewhere else,” Arruda said.

The investigation into the doctor’s death will follow the same protocol as all other fatalities in Quebec, he said.

Arruda said if nothing else, the man’s death should serve as a reminder that “the virus can hit anywhere.”

“It tells us we are all vulnerable, and it’s important to respect the rules,” Arruda said.

With the government hinting at the possibility of easing confinement rules in the coming weeks, Arruda said it’s important that people continue to respect directives on physical distancing around their colleagues “who could be asymptomatic.”

The president of the federation of Quebec specialists, Diane Francoeur, said in a tweet that the doctor had worked in the community health sector. Francoeur offered her condolences to the doctor’s family, as did Arruda.

“When I I talk about numbers of people dying, I know the drama that is going on in each family, for colleagues and loved ones,” he said.

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