Ontario Premier Doug Ford isolating after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask on after speaking at a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press - image credit)
Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask on after speaking at a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press - image credit)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is isolating in Toronto after he was in close contact with a staff member who has since tested positive for COVID-19, his office said late Tuesday night.

The staff member was in contact with Ford on Monday, and was tested on Tuesday after learning they had been at risk of exposure, according to Ivana Yelich, spokesperson for the premier.

That staff member received a positive test result on Tuesday evening.

Ford left the Ontario legislature to be tested as soon as he learned the staffer was at risk of exposure, Yelich said in a statement. The premier has received a negative test result.

"While his test results have returned negative, the premier will follow all public health advice for close contacts of positive cases, including isolating," she said.

Members of Ford's office staff, who were close contacts of the staff member who tested positive, will also go into isolation.

"We are seeking additional guidance from Toronto Public Health on all precautions that the premier and isolating staff must follow," Yelich added.

"The premier will continue leading this government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic while in isolation, including briefings with officials and communicating with the public."

On April 9, Ford received the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine at a Toronto drug store.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford receives the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 from pharmacist Anmol Soor at a Toronto drug store on Friday, April 9.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford receives the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 from pharmacist Anmol Soor at a Toronto drug store on Friday, April 9.(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Ontario reported 3,469 more cases of COVID-19 and 22 more deaths from the illness on Tuesday. The case count was the lowest in the province since April 8.

Another 158 people with COVID-19-related illnesses were admitted to hospital, according to the provincial health ministry, bringing the total to 2,360. Of those, 773 are being treated in intensive care, while 537 require ventilators to breathe. All three figures are new pandemic highs for Ontario.

The new infections come as labs completed 40,596 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and logged a positivity rate of 10 per cent.