BC dentist's virus death followed attendance at conference

Death confirmed as COVID

The death of a North Vancouver dentist who died suddenly 10 days after attending the Pacific Dental Conference earlier this month has been confirmed as linked to the COVID-19 virus.

Dr. Denis Vincent, 62, died March 22 at his Vancouver home, where he had been in self-isolation.

Vincent’s death had been under investigation by the coroner’s service in light of his attendance at the Pacific Dental Conference in Vancouver March 5 to 7 and his subsequent development of symptoms.

Bettyanne Brownlee, a lawyer for Vincent’s family, said in a statement the coroners service has now confirmed Vincent’s death was related to exposure to the virus.

According to health officials, Vincent’s is the only known death in B.C. from coronavirus “in the community” – outside of a hospital or long-term care facility.

“This was a person who died in their home,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s chief medical health officer, describing the death at a press conference on Monday. “It was a result of COVID-19.”

Henry said last week up to 32 people have been linked back to the conference, attended by about 15,000 people, which Henry described this week as “a major source of infection in B.C.”

Henry said last week that as part of a public health investigation, the dentist’s close contacts had been identified and put into isolation.

Vincent did see patients in his North Vancouver clinic in the brief time between the conference and March 12, when Henry told all dentists who had attended to self-isolate.

But Henry said unless a dentist had been showing symptoms of illness “the chances of passing it on to others is extremely low,” noting the two-week incubation period for the virus is now past.

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