Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott has been photographed at a Toronto LCBO while waiting for her COVID-19 test result, which has caused confusion among the public about what advice people should follow.
Elliott and Premier Doug Ford were both tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday, after being in close contact with Education Minister Stephen Lecce, who had come into contact with an infected patient. Ford and Elliott had cancelled their press conference that day out of an “abundance of caution.”
Lecce tested negative on Wednesday, and according to CP24, Elliott was seen an hour-and-a-half later at an LCBO near Dupont Street and Spadina Avenue, wearing a surgical mask.
“Minister Lecce’s results came back negative, before I went for testing. While there was no real need for me to go to be tested, I had made a public commitment to do so,” said Elliott at Ontario’s COVID-19 press conference on Thursday.
“At the assessment centre, I was advised because I had not directly been in contact with anyone who had contact with COVID-19, I did not need to self-isolate. That was the medical advice I was given, and that was what I did.”
Elliott and Ford received their negative test results Thursday morning.
— CP24 (@CP24) June 11, 2020
Since Lecce is a contact of a confirmed case, he must remain in self-isolation for 14 days from his last exposure to the case, which was June 6.
Even though Ford and Elliott were not required to self-isolate, Public Health Ontario have warned people that ”given an incubation period of up to 14 days for COVID-19 disease after exposure, a negative PCR test result in an asymptomatic person should not be used to rule out disease.”
Toronto Public Health hasn’t advised people to self-isolate while awaiting test results if they have no symptoms or haven’t been in close contact with a positive case. But people should still continue to social distance from others, wear a face covering, regularly wash their hands, and monitor for symptoms.
Canadians have since taken to Twitter, many in voicing their confusion about what advice they should heed, following Elliott’s trip to the LCBO.
When I did my test, the doctor told me the following: "Until you get the results, assume you are positive."
My results were negative. But I still isolated.
— andy a mo (@andrewamonti) June 11, 2020
What the hell, they tell everyone else stay home but your waiting for your test and you go shopping!
— shaunna (@shaunnahird) June 11, 2020
People awaiting test results should be isolating until they get said results. Including politicians who tell us that exact thing. This is news, whether you like it or not
— Kyle Marshall (@TheActualKJM) June 11, 2020
This is what contact tracing is. Everyone who has presumptive contact has to isolate until they are cleared. That is how we stop the spread. She was irresponsible.
— Noelle 🐓🍷 (@natsprat3) June 11, 2020
I understand Christine Elliott's reasoning that Stephen Lecce tested negative for COVID and therefore she would too, but she's the person who's supposed to be setting the example for all Ontarians. She had to have understood the optics here; she just didn't care.
— MACLUNKEY (@ChurchCarlton) June 11, 2020