Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office has announced he is self-isolating after being in close contact with a staff member in his office who tested positive for COVID-19.
According to a statement issued late Tuesday, Ford was in contact with the affected staff member on Monday.
The statement said that staff member was tested on Tuesday after being told they came into contact with someone who had COVID-19. It went on to say the employee received a positive test result Tuesday evening.
“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.”
Also, an undisclosed number of staff members from Ford’s office who were also in contact with the employee were ordered to isolate.
While waiting for further Toronto Public Health guidance, the statement said Ford will keep working.
“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,” it said.
News of Ford’s isolation came on the same day questions were raised about his absence from question period.
After being absent from public view on Monday and Tuesday and missing question period both days, the hashtag #WhereIsDougFord became a trending topic on Twitter.
Ontario Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott was questioned by reporters about Ford’s absence Tuesday afternoon.
“The premier has been very busy working to find more vaccines for Ontario and to assist in all of those efforts,” she said, adding he has been working “virtually full-time” on the province’s vaccination efforts.
“He is devoting his time to helping get us out of the pandemic so that we can get more vaccines into as many arms as possible so we can move towards a more normal life for all of us.”
On Sunday, Ford’s office announced he was contacting “international allies” after another delay was reported on Ontario’s allocation of Moderna vaccines.