NDP leader Andrea Horwath tests positive for COVID-19

A second major party leader has tested positive for COVID-19, upending Ontario’s election campaign as it enters the final two weeks.

Both New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner are isolating after positive tests.

But neither Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford and Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca have tested positive.

The four leaders shared the same debate stage Monday night at TVO in Toronto, their final encounter before the June 2 election.

Horwath cancelled a scheduled northern campaign swing Thursday morning after testing positive shortly before she was to board a charter flight to Sault Ste. Marie and then Thunder Bay.

She was not feeling any symptoms, but had done her routine daily test. The NDP leader planned to continue with at least some of her scheduled events remotely by Zoom Thursday.

Horwath had been in close quarters with Schreiner during the 90-minute debate moderated by the Star’s Althia Raj and TVO’s Steve Paikin. Both moderators are feeling fine.

Schreiner tested positive Wednesday.

Ford’s campaign told the Star he is well.

“It’s been more than 48 hours so he’s not considered a close contact,” said a campaign official Thursday.

“He’s not experiencing any symptoms. He’ll continue following public health guidelines.”

Del Duca “tested negative this morning,” a Liberal campaign official said.

“He is symptom free and feeling great. He wishes Mike and Andrea speedy recoveries.”

While some other northern campaign stops might be rescheduled, Horwath is likely to be grounded under quarantine for five days from Thursday.

The NDP campaign had to scuttle a planned trip to Sandy Lake First Nation by plane.

“Like many others in this pandemic, this morning I tested positive for COVID-19,” Horwath, who is fully vaccinated, tweeted.

“We’re doing our best to keep everyone safe. I was looking forward to seeing folks in Northern Ontario. We’ll have to make adjustments but I’ll keep connecting with people however I can safely,” she said.

Schreiner says he tested positive on a rapid test Wednesday evening after close contact with a staff member.

In a statement, the Green leader said he is “fully vaccinated and … feeling fine.”

He says he would campaign remotely from home “for a few days” while following public health advice.

Ontario’s current public health rules require people isolate for five days after COVID-19 symptoms first appear or after a positive test result, whichever comes first.

With files from Robert Benzie

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