O’Toole, Blanchet remain in isolation after testing positive for coronavirus

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has tested positive for COVID-19.

O’Toole got the news late Friday, hours after Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet issued a statement that he too had tested positive.

Both men will now be unable to attend next week’s throne speech.

O’Toole, who has been the Opposition leader for less than four weeks, was tested in Gatineau, Que., Thursday after one of his staffers tested positive.

His wife, Rebecca, and their children Mollie and Jack, all tested negative.

The party said in a statement Wednesday that O’Toole, 47, was experiencing no symptoms.

However his spokeswoman, Melanie Paradis, later said O’Toole had started to experience a sore throat on Wednesday. His symptoms are said to be mild, and the party said he is “feeling well.”

Ontario Public Health requires an individual to isolate for at least 14 days from the day symptoms begin or they receive a positive test if they never had symptoms. Under that guidance, O’Toole would be required to stay in isolation until the end of September.

Paradis said O’Toole will discuss the situation with his doctor to determine how long he must remain in isolation.

Quebec’s public health rules say a person who tests positive but doesn’t have serious symptoms must stay isolated for 10 days. Blanchet had no symptoms as of Friday and will follow that guidance, the party said.

“He will stay in isolation at his home in Shawinigan until Sept. 26, in conformance with the instructions of Quebec public health,” the Bloc said in a statement.

“He feels perfectly well.”

Blanchet’s wife, Nancy Deziel, tested positive for the illness earlier this week, after losing her sense of smell, and Blanchet said then that he would be tested as a precaution.

The Bloc leader was already in self-isolation, along with much of his caucus and other aides, after a staff member contracted COVID-19.

Late Friday, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he will get tested for COVID-19 because he met with O’Toole earlier this week.

Legault said on Twitter that he would get tested as a precaution and isolate himself at home, adding that no one is immune.

Legault met with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney and Manitoba’s Brian Pallister on Friday to demand more funding for health care and other big-ticket items in advance of next week’s throne speech.

In a statement Friday evening, a spokesperson for Ford said that he wouldn’t be getting tested as he didn’t “come into close contact” with Legault and that “they were masked except when seated and physically distanced at all times.”

Pallister said he and his team are self-monitoring for symptoms.

“All public health protocols were followed including wearing masks and physical distancing during the COF (Council of the Federation) meeting,” a spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Jason Kenney said the province’s chief medical officer did not recommend he isolate.

“Proper protocols were maintained during the Premiers’ meeting in Ottawa,” the statement said.

With files from David Lao and Amber McGuckin, Global News

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