Two of four Ontario party leaders test positive for COVID-19

As the Ontario election date approaches, two of four of the province’s 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.

Schreiner said he is “feeling fine” and has adjusted his plans to campaign from home while isolating.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath delivered similar news in a press release Thursday morning and will now attend her previously planned in-person campaign stops in northern Ontario remotely.

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.

“He is symptom free and feels great, and he wishes Mike and Andrea speedy recoveries,” the spokesperson 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 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.

Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Leader Doug Ford, left to right, Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath, Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca and Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner debate during the Ontario party leaders’ debate, in Toronto, Monday, May 16, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

“There are a lot of social interactions amongst the party leaders and members 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.

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