A third worker at an autism charity has died after contracting Covid-19.
Tracey Donnelly, 53, died in hospital in Sunderland, the North East Autism Society said.
Her death follows those of Sue Gargett, 53, and 66-year-old Margaret Blyth. The charity said there was no evidence any of them contracted Covid through their work.
Chief executive John Phillipson said there was “shock and sadness” at Ms Donnelly’s death.
Paying tribute to his former colleague, he said: “Tracey was dedicated, very popular, well respected, and will be greatly missed by us all.”
Her husband George said: “She was so proud to be part of the North East Autism Society, working alongside a fantastic team, and caring so much for the service users.
“All she ever wanted was the best for them.
“I loved her the first time I saw her, and I always will. She was so loving and kind – just an extra-special person in every way.”
Mrs Donnelly was born and raised in Edinburgh and joined the charity as a carer five years ago.
For the past two years, she has worked mainly at The Court, Inverthorne and Moorpine residential homes in Sunderland.
Mrs Donnelly leaves four sons, Steve, Christopher, Ben and Jack. She also had three step-children – Hayley, Jonathan, and Emma – and eight grandchildren.