Ontario Premier Doug Ford isolating in Toronto after staffer tests positive for COVID-19

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford is isolating after learning that a staff member he came in close contact with Monday has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement released late Tuesday night, the premier’s office said that the staff member was tested today after learning that they had been at risk of exposure and that the test came back positive.

“Immediately upon learning that this staff member was even at risk of exposure, the premier left the legislature to be tested,” the statement said. “While his test results have returned negative, the premier will follow all public health advice for close contacts of positive cases, including isolating. He will do so in Toronto.”

Other members of the premier’s office who had close contact with the staff member who tested positive will also isolate, Ford’s office said.

The premier’s office said it is seeking further guidance from Toronto Public Health on all precautions that Ford and his staff must follow.

Although Ford is currently isolating, his office said that he will continue to carry out his duties as premier and communicate with the public.

“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.”

Ford has been under fire and mostly out of public view in recent days as critics charge that he has botched Ontario’s response to the third wave. They point to a series of restrictions that shuttered outdoor playgrounds, while allowing distribution centres and other large workplaces to continue operating without introducing paid sick leave.

Health Minister Christine Elliot said Tuesday that the provincial government is now looking at introducing some sort of additional support for workers who can’t stay home.

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