Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott exit the daily briefing at Queen's Park in Toronto on March 31, 2020.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott are being tested for COVID-19 after Education Minister Stephen Lecce said he came into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

Mr. Lecce, who appeared alongside Mr. Ford and Ms. Elliott at an announcement at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, said in a statement that he was tested that same day, and on Wednesday he found out his results were negative.

His office did not respond to questions about who he came into contact with, when he found out and if he will go for another test. Mr. Lecce said that he has been in isolation since he was tested.

Story continues below advertisement

“The Premier and minister Elliott have been extremely clear: If you feel you need a test, you should get tested. We all have a role to play in combatting this virus,” Mr. Lecce said.

Coronavirus guide: Updates and essential resources about the COVID-19 pandemic

Some infectious-disease experts say a negative test does not necessarily mean the person is in the clear.

“Definitely not,” said Andrew Morris, medical director of the anti-microbial stewardship program at the Sinai Health System in Toronto. He said he was speaking generally and did not know the specifics of Mr. Lecce’s case.

“The incubation period on average is about four to five days … and we know that there are a substantial number of false negatives with tests,” he said, citing a figure of between 15 to 25 per cent.

Factors such as when the person came into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and how much contact they had plays a role in test results, Dr. Morris said.

“In a high-risk situation … a negative test should not totally reassure you,” he said, describing high-risk exposure as closed, unprotected and prolonged contact.

The surprise news at Queen’s Park came moments before Mr. Ford and Ms. Elliott were supposed to appear at a daily news conference with Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities.

Story continues below advertisement

“Premier Ford and minister Elliott will be getting tested today. Both will continue to monitor for symptoms and take appropriate action as necessary," the Premier’s Office said.

His office said it would notify the public once it receives the test results.

Mr. Romano told reporters that he only learned of the situation minutes before he took the podium.

“I know our Premier is acting out of an extreme abundance of caution and he wants to ensure that everyone on the premise here at Queen’s Park is safe,” Mr. Romano said.

“We’ve all been following social-distancing protocols, and we all continue to do so.”

On Tuesday, Toronto City Councillor Michael Ford, the Premier’s nephew, said he has tested positive for COVID-19 – the first known local politician in Canada’s largest city to contract the novel coronavirus.

Story continues below advertisement

A spokeswoman for the Premier said he has “not been in contact” with his nephew over the past two weeks. “The Premier remains in good health,” Ivana Yelich said in an e-mail. “We wish councillor Ford a speedy recovery.”

Dr. Morris said public-health officials should continue to give guidance to those who have received tests, which could include monitoring for symptoms or self-isolating.

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies