The wife of the 38-year-old New Brunswicker who died from COVID-19 this week says her husband was in good health before the virus.
Luc Bélanger from the Edmundston region is the youngest man to die from COVID-19 in the province.
His wife Julie says he tested positive on March 22 when he started experiencing flu-like symptoms. Three days later an ambulance took him to the hospital and Luc was admitted to the COVID-19 unit. On March 27, his doctor said he needed to be put on a ventilator.
Julie says Luc was stable for about a week until his lungs deteriorated and kidneys started to fail.
He died on April 6.
“I want people to be aware that Luc wasn’t sick (before contracting the virus),” said Bélanger.
“It was really COVID that took him.”
When Public Health first reported his death, it stated the death was as a result of underlying complications including COVID-19. It then said the death was only a result of the virus.
Julie was also sick with COVID-19, along with their daughter and son-in-law. She says they all had the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., but all had different symptoms.
She has been with Luc for 21 years, and they’ve been married for nearly 12.
“It’s hard. I lost my other half, my confidant,” she said.
Before his death, Bélanger wasn’t able to visit Luc and could only FaceTime him with the help of hospital staff. She says the whole family misses him.
“My girl was really close with her father. It’s certain that’s it’s a huge loss for her… We speak a lot. We talk about the good moments that we had with Luc, we can’t forget him,” she said.
“We went through challenges, we got through them together and I don’t think he would want me to pity myself.”
She said Luc was always involved in the community, had many friends and was an avid ATV-er. He was also a member of the ATV Club du Nord-Ouest.
Bélanger said she feels supported by her friends and co-workers while she grieves.
But she has a strong message she wants to share: “Variants are serious.”
This was echoed by New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell on Thursday, who said the majority of COVID-19 cases in the Edmundston region are the B.1.1.7 variant.
The province also reported a record-high number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 20 people admitted and 13 in intensive care.
New Brunswick reports its highest number of hospitalizations, ICU admissions amid COVID-19 pandemic
Bélanger is pleading with everyone to follow COVID-19 health measures to stay safe.
She is also calling on the province to start vaccinating younger people right away to slow the spread of the variant.
“These variants really affect young people,” she said. “Please follow sanitary measures.”
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