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Alberta doctor dies from COVID-19

A doctor in Lethbridge, Alta., has died from complications of COVID-19 — making him the second physician and seventh health-care worker in the province to die from COVID-19, according to Alberta Health. 

Dr. Wayne John Edwards is the 7th health-care worker in the province to die from the virus

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, shown in an image posted in his obituary, died on April 13 from complications related to COVID-19 at the Chinook Regional Hospital (shown blurred in the background) in Lethbridge, Alta. (Edwards family)

A doctor in Lethbridge, Alta., has died from complications of COVID-19. 

Dr. Wayne John Edwards is the seventh Alberta health-care worker — and the second doctor — to die from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Alberta Health. 

Edwards died at the Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge on Tuesday at the age of 66.

Alberta Health says the source of his exposure is unknown.

"With great sorrow, we recognize the death of a Lethbridge physician related to COVID-19," the Alberta Medical Association said on social media.  

"So many Albertans have lost loved ones and friends to this terrible disease. The physician community joins in mourning a colleague and leader of his health community."

The other doctor who died of COVID-19 was not publicly identified but was from the Calgary zone and was reported to have died from the virus in January. 

As of the provincial update on Wednesday afternoon, 2,029 people in the province have died due to COVID-19.  

"Dr. Edwards was a pillar of support and advocacy for children and families in Lethbridge and southern Alberta," Alberta Health Services said in an emailed statement. 

"His humour, his kind approach, his professionalism, and his absolute commitment to helping children touched many lives. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife and sons during this difficult time, as well as his many close friends and colleagues."

He leaves behind his wife, Harriet, and two sons, Andre and Adrian, according to an obituary posted on Wednesday.

Edwards was born in Trinidad and migrated to Canada in 1995, settling first in Nova Scotia before moving in 2003 to Alberta, where he and his family became Canadian citizens.

According to his obituary, Edwards first earned his medical degree in Jamaica, before studying psychiatry in London. 

He worked in Yarmouth, N.S., for about seven years before moving to Lethbridge, where he initially practised at the Bigelow Fowler Clinic South before opening a private clinic. 

He also worked with the Chinook Regional Hospital, the Children's Mental Health Clinic and the Adult Mental Health Clinic, as well as monthly visits to the clinic in Milk River and a stint at the University of Lethbridge.

It wasn't just work that filled his days, however.

His obituary says he loved music and played the piano, organ and steel drum.

He was also "heavily involved in the music ministry at St. Augustine's Anglican Church," it says.

An avid traveller, according to the obituary, Edwards visited China, Japan, Australia and Russia, among other places. 

"Our thanks go out to the doctors and nurses at the ICU who worked valiantly to save Wayne's life," his obituary said.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here

(CBC)

With files from Jennifer Lee

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