Two of four Ontario party leaders test positive for COVID-19
Published Thursday, May 19, 2022 7:13AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 19, 2022 9:00PM EDT
As Ontario's election date approaches, two of the province’s four main political party leaders have tested positive for COVID-19.
Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner announced Wednesday night in a news release that he received a positive result from a rapid test following close contact with a staff member.
“I’m feeling fine. Developed a bit of a slight cough this morning. But I’m self-isolating, I’m following all public health guidelines and we’ll be campaigning from home until it’s safe to not do so,” Schreiner told CP24 Thursday morning.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath delivered similar news in a press release Thursday morning and will not attend her previously planned in-person campaign stops in northern Ontario remotely.
"I am really regretful that that's been turned around," Horwath said over Zoom on Thursday morning.
The NDP Leader said she feels like she has a “bit of a bug” but that she is “certainly not 100 per cent."
All four party leaders were in close proximity with one another Monday night for the one-and-only televised debate of the 2022 election campaign.
A spokesperson for Steven Del Duca said the Liberal leader tested negative following the news of Schreiner and Horwath’s positive test results.
During a campaign stop in Mississauga, Del Duca wished Horwath and Schreiner speedy recoveries and underscored COVID-19’s ongoing threat.
"I think this is a good reminder that though we all want to be on the other side of this pandemic, that there are still risks, and that so many here in Mississauga and across Ontario, are still struggling," he said.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the PC Party responded to an email from CTV News Toronto inquiring about leader Doug Ford’s status saying, “He’s not experiencing any symptoms."
Ivana Yelich said, because “it’s been more than 48 hours” since the debate, “he’s not considered a close contact.”
Yelich added he has also tested negative.
Speaking from the campaign trail, Ford encouraged Ontarians to continue following what’s left of COVID-19 safety protocols.
"(If) you have symptoms, please get tested," he said
Speaking to CP24 Thursday morning, University Health Network’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control Dr. Susy Hota said the positive cases among party leaders should serve as a reminder that COVID-19 is still being transmitted throughout Ontario.
"There are a lot of social interactions amongst the party leaders and member of the public,” Hota said.
“It is a cautionary reminder there is still quite a bit of COVID-19 out there right now."
Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in Ontario, which have served as an indicator of transmission in the absence of widely-available PCR testing, have been gradually trending downward in recent weeks.
However, the limited number of tests reported on a daily basis suggest that COVID-19 is still circulating in the province with positivity rates stubbornly resting above 10 per cent.