OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is isolating at home but says he has no symptoms after coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19.
In a tweet, Trudeau said Thursday he learned of the contact after a three-day cabinet retreat.
“Last night, I learned that I have been exposed to COVID-19. My rapid test result was negative,” he wrote.
The prime minister said he is following Ottawa public health guidance and “isolating for five days. I feel fine and will be working from home. Stay safe, everyone — and please get vaccinated.”
After the retreat, Trudeau stood near three of his top cabinet ministers, masked and distanced, to unveil his government’s response to the unfolding crisis in Ukraine.
He addressed the truckers’ protest against vaccination mandates, saying vaccination is the way out of the pandemic and urging the remaining minority of truckers to get a jab.
Trudeau’s wife Sophie had COVID-19 at the outset of the pandemic, but Trudeau has not contracted it even as members of his staff and protective RCMP detail did in December when the highly transmissible Omicron variant began its sprint through Canada.
Defence Minister Anita Anand is slated to go to Ukraine in the coming days after announcing a military training mission is to be extended in the embattled country. Her office said that trip is still going ahead.
Trudeau’s exposure came Wednesday following a news conference on Ukraine, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office told the Star, and a rapid test Wednesday night showed a negative result. It’s not clear whether the person he was exposed to was a family member or staff member.
The PMO does not believe other ministers had any high-risk contact with Trudeau or the same contact, whom it declined to identify.
It also would not say whether Trudeau has had a PCR test, which is more accurate than a rapid test. The PMO spokesperson said Trudeau is following public health rules to isolate for five days.
Ottawa Public Health has restricted PCR tests to essential workers, and caregivers to vulnerable people and those in high-risk settings.
Symptomatic people are presumed to have COVID and required to isolate. If asymptomatic — as Trudeau says is true in his case — testing is further restricted. In this circumstance, self-isolation is not required unless an individual is isolating because of a close contact, such as a symptomatic household member, according to Ottawa Public Health.
The PMO would not say whether the prime minister is considered an essential worker for the purposes of establishing whether he has an infection, referring queries back to his tweet.
Tonda MacCharles is an Ottawa-based reporter covering federal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @tondamacc