Another Alberta health care worker dies from COVID-19; Infected at workplace

SHERWOOD PARK - Rose Vandelannoite, a Health Care Aide at the Summerwood Village retirement home in Sherwood Park, died on Sunday from a workplace COVID-19 infection, her union has announced.

Vandelannoite was a committed health care worker, devoted to the residents she cared for. She was also a tireless advocate for her coworkers and was the chief union steward at Summerwood Village Retirement Home. She leaves behind two adult children, a loving extended family, and many, many friends.

After fighting the virus for five weeks, she succumbed to her illness at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. She is the fourth health care worker to die from COVID-19 in Alberta and the fourth health care worker to die from COVID-19 so far this month in the province.

Vandelannoite became infected with COVID-19 at work. Exactly how she contracted the virus is not confirmed at this time.

“However the infection was contracted, it was totally unnecessary,” said Ann Waller, president of LIUNA Local 3000, the union that represents staff at Summerwood Village Retirement Home. “If Rose and other frontline workers had adequate paid leave, they could have been able to stay home and self-isolate instead without having to worry about earning enough money to feed their family. Jason Kenney & Tyler Shandro could have ensured that those measures were in-place at all retirement homes and long-term care facilities. In failing to do even that much, they failed Rose, her family, her coworkers, and the residents at Summerwood Village. Throughout this crisis, Kenney’s government has left retirement home staff to fend for themselves. We should not be mourning Rose today. She should still be here.”

“Our first concern is for Rose, her family, her friends and her co-workers. Rose is a frontline hero, gone far too soon,” remarked Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “But our sadness for Rose turns to anger when we think of the role the provincial government played in her death. The Kenney government failed Rose, and other health care workers like her, by failing to properly implement a single-site policy for continuing care facilities; by failing to enact paid sick leave and other policies that would have allowed workers to stay home when necessary; and, perhaps most importantly, by failing to reduce the growth in community spread of COVID that made it virtually impossible to keep residents and staff in continuing care facilities safe. The government’s approach of doing as little as possible, as late as possible has been a disaster. We think it’s no exaggeration to say that Premier Kenney and Health Minister Shandro have blood on their hands.”

Dedicated mother, committed health care worker, spirited advocate and loyal friend, Rose will be sorely missed. Her union has established a crowdfunder to help Rose’s family pay for her funeral expenses.

LiUNA Local 3000 is a Canadian local union that represents nearly 9000 workers, primarily frontline health care workers. Its health care members work in retirement homes, long term care facilities, hospitals, crisis shelters, and for home care agencies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.

The Alberta Federation of Labour is Alberta’s largest union advocacy organization, representing more than 175,000 workers in both the public and private sectors.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Todd Ferguson
LIUNA Local 3000
Tel: 289-821-4030
Email: tferguson@liuna3000.ca

 

Supplemental media files:
- Photos of Rose Vandelannoite: 1, 2 (credit: family of Rose Vandelannoite)
- Photos of Rose with her family: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (credit: family of Rose Vandelannoite)
- Photo of Summerwood Village: 1 (credit: All Seniors Care website)
- Photo of Ann Waller: 1 (credit: Mike Nisbet/LIUNA Local 3000)
- Photo of Gil McGowan: 1 (credit: Alberta Federation of Labour)