Ontario Premier Doug Ford in isolation after workplace exposure to COVID-19
After four days of being conspicuously absent from the public eye amid calls for his resignation, Ontario's premier has finally been located — or rather, his location has been revealed, giving people an answer to this week's most-pressing, trending question: "Where is Doug Ford?"
Doug Ford is in isolation, according to his team, after coming into close contact with a staffer who later tested positive for COVID-19.
"Today, a member of Premier Ford's staff who came into close contact with him yesterday was tested for COVID-19 after learning that they had been at risk of exposure. This evening, the staff member received a positive result," said the Premier's Office in a statement issued Tuesday night.
"Immediately upon learning that this staff member was even at risk of exposure, the Premier left the legislature to be tested. 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."
All staff members were close contacts of the person who tested positive will isolate as well, according to the Premier's Office, which says it is seeking guidance from Toronto Public Health as it pertains to "precautions that the Premier and isolating staff must follow."
If you’re asking whether this is real or a game to hide the Premier as things fall apart, you’re missing the point: this hopefully isn’t the kind of thing you play games with, and anyway he was already hiding, from Friday to Tuesday, as things fell apart https://t.co/3kk9BZSVTO— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) April 21, 2021
Ford will "continue leading this government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic while in isolation," says the Premier's Office. This will include "briefings with officials and communicating with the public."
So why hasn't he appeared (even virtually) at the legislature or any media conferences this week? People are wondering — particularly in light of the reason given by his Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, for missing yesterday's presser.
"He's been working on the vaccination efforts basically full-time," said Elliott when asked on Tuesday about where Ford was. "The Premier has been very busy working to try and find vaccines for Ontario... He's devoting his time to help us get out of the pandemic."
Unfortunately for Ford, his efforts haven't paid off enough to please critics or many Ontario residents who are displeased with his handling of the pandemic as case numbers spike and harsh lockdowns drag on.
"Doug Ford is missing in action, hiding from the people, and hiding from accountability," said Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca on Tuesday. "He needs to resign now before he causes any more damage."
@celliottability Liar Liar pants on fire. The Premier is not busy working on finding vaccines. No he's not devoting his time to help us get out of the pandemic. He's too busy blaming & yelling at playgrounds while people suffer & die from COVID. @fordnation— 🎭 Sändra Cöle 🎭 (@Sandra_Cole44) April 20, 2021
Del Duca is far from the only politician or Ontarian accusing Ford of hiding while the pandemic grows out of control, and many online seem to find it ironic that the premier has been out of commission due to an exposure in the workplace.
Under the Ontario government's own current shutdown rules, which have been widely criticized as ineffective, factories, food processing plants and warehouses can all still operate despite strong, consistent evidence linking these types of sites to COVID outbreaks.
Health experts and advocates have been asking the province to introduce paid sick leave for months, but Premier Doug Ford has resisted the idea to date in favour of enhanced police powers and the closure of outdoor recreational facilities.
Medical officers of health for both Toronto and Peel issued their own Section 22 orders on Tuesday requiring workplaces with five or more cases of COVID-19 to shut down for 10 days.
They are strongly recommending that employers provide financial compensation to employees who must miss work due to illness or exposure, but the province has yet to mandate this action or provide any sort of funding.
Ironically, as Global News reports, Ford himself will continue to earn a daily salary of $804.73 while in isolation.
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