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Ford gets tested for COVID-19 after education minister in contact with case|BCI CANADA

TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford got tested Wednesday for COVID-19, a day after his education minister came into contact with someone who was infected — despite the minister's test coming back negative.

Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott held a joint news conference Tuesday with Stephen Lecce to announce a child-care reopening plan, and Lecce's office said he was notified the same day that he had come into contact with a someone with COVID-19, so he got tested.

As a result, Ford and Elliott cancelled their usual daily news conference and the premier's office said they were monitoring themselves for symptoms and getting tested while awaiting Lecce's results.

Not long after the colleges and universities minister began a solo appearance at the daily briefing, Lecce's office said his test result came back negative.

Ford spokeswoman Ivana Yelich said Ford still got tested for COVID-19 "out of an abundance of caution."

Public health officials have not recommended getting a COVID-19 test immediately after possible exposure.

"If you are worried about possible exposure to a person with or under investigation for COVID-19, based on evidence and the incubation period of the virus, we suggest individuals get tested 4 to 8 days after potential exposure," Toronto's Michael Garron Hospital writes on its website.

Neither the premier's office nor a spokeswoman for Lecce would say how he came into contact with a positive case, or why his possible exposure wasn't made public sooner.

The premier's office would also not confirm if Ford was in self-isolation while awaiting Lecce's test results.

His nephew, city councillor Michael Ford, recently tested positive for COVID-19, but Premier Ford hadn't seen his nephew in more than two weeks, a spokeswoman said.

Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano took to the podium alone Wednesday to announce that limited in-person education and training could start on post-secondary campuses starting in July.

The summer session will be for students "in areas of high labour market demand" — such as nursing, personal support worker, welding and engineering — who need to complete a lab or practicum course component to graduate.

There will be strict limits on the number of students per campus, the government said.

Ontario reported 251 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, and 11 more deaths.

That brings the province to a total of 31,341 cases, including 2,475 deaths and 25,380 resolved cases — 551 more than the previous day.

The uptick in resolved cases means there are 300 fewer active cases over the previous day, and today marks the first day the percentage of resolved cases in the province is over 80.

Elliott says in a tweet that 59 of today's new cases are related to an outbreak in southwestern Ontario and the "vast majority" of the others are in the Greater Toronto Area.

Most regions of the province outside of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area as well as some border communities are set to enter Stage 2 of reopening on Friday.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 continued to steadily decline, from 600 the previous day to 580 today — the lowest number since early April.

The number of people in intensive care rose slightly while the number of people on ventilators decreased slightly.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2020.

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

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