An Ontario teacher who was “totally healthy” before contracting COVID-19 is now intubated in hospital, an infectious disease doctor says.

Doctor Abdu Sharkawy, who works at Toronto Western Hospital, said the 47-year-old teacher tested positive for COVID-19 after coming in contact with a student who was also positive.

Due to confidentiality reasons, Sharkawy is not able to provide specific details about the patient.

“This is just absolutely heartbreaking,” Sharkawy said Saturday. “We have run out of adjectives for describing how sobering, how traumatic and how absolutely tragic this situation is.”

Sharkawy said the person’s situation shows that teachers are not being properly protected from COVID-19.

He said teachers aren’t being provided with proper personal protective equipment, class sizes are too big and that not much has been done to address ventilation issues.

“We’ve got to protect our teachers,” he said. “This myth that somehow schools are immune to being able to transmit this virus, it’s got to end. Our teachers need better protection, they need more dignity, respect, and they need vaccines.”

“What we have done right now is just decide that somehow they will be okay, fend for themselves, it’s unacceptable. Teachers are going to die.”

Ontario shutdown is just a ‘ruse’

Sharkawy also took aim at Ontario’s latest COVID-19 shutdown, saying that “putting a blanket shutdown on the entire province is a ruse.”

“It’s not going to help,” he said. “We’ve got to address the root cause of this problem.”

He said essential workers, especially those who work in congregate settings, need urgent access to paid sick leave, isolation facilitates, and better testing.

“They need the guarantee that they don’t have to make a decision between putting food on the table or ending up in an ICU on a ventilator,” he said.

“We’re fed up having to see people go through this and we won’t stand for it anymore.”

Ontario reported more than 6,000 COVID-19 cases in the past two days, recording more than 3,000 new cases each day. 

The province hasn’t recorded more than 3,000 new cases in single day since January.

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