A Canadian senator with an autoimmune disease has died of COVID-19 after being hospitalized with the virus for more than a month.
Late. Josée Forest-Niesing, 56, was admitted with COVID-19 in October, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). She was later discharged from the hospital on November 14th.
The senator’s office said Forest-Niesing was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but noted that she lived with an autoimmune disease for 15 years, which weakened her lungs, according to the CBC. In a statement Tuesday, her office said illness made her more vulnerable to COVID-19.
George Furey, the chairman of the Canadian Senate, confirmed Forest-Niesing’s death in a statement on Saturday, calling her a “friend and colleague.”
“Senator Forest-Niesing contributed to her community as a member and chair of several boards, and she will be remembered as an avid and passionate defender of access to justice in both official languages,” Furey said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin trudeauJustin Pierre James Trudeau Photos of the week: President Biden, Kenosha protest and pardon for Peanut Butter The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by ExxonMobil – House to vote on Biden’s law on social spending after McCarthy postpones Overnight Health Care – Presented by Emergent Biosolutions – Pfizer, USA strikes COVID-19 pill deal MORE also acknowledged Forest-Niesing’s death and praised her as “a dedicated public servant and a champion of minority language communities.”
“Throughout his life, Senator Forest-Niesing has passionately defended and promoted access to justice and public services in both official languages as well as sign language, including for indigenous communities,” Trudeau added in a statement.
Trudeau appointed Forest-Niesing to the Senate in 2018.
While COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be effective in preventing serious illness, it is still possible for fully inoculated individuals to test positive for the virus in what is often called a “breakthrough case.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that breakthrough cases are often “less severe” than infections in non-vaccinated individuals, resulting in a lower chance of being hospitalized.
Just over 75 percent of Canada’s total population is vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a government database.