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Councillor Josh Matlow in isolation after contact with person who tested positive for COVID-19

Toronto city councillor Josh Matlow says he has gone into self-isolation after he came into contact last week with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Matlow, who represents Ward 19, Toronto-St. Paul’s, announced Monday he will be in self-isolation until March 20. Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, advised him to make the move, he added.

Self-isolation means staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people for 14 days.

Currently, Matlow said he is “fully isolated” from his wife and daughter. He says he has created a living space for himself in his home’s basement, where he is sleeping, and he is not eating meals with his family.

“Honestly, I’m going to have to figure it out,” Matlow said on Monday in an interview with CBC Radio’s Here and Now.

“I’m trying to set up a scenario where I can function, I can be isolated, I can be helpful and also do my work,” he said.

“I’m not going to be everywhere I would prefer to be. Meanwhile, I am going to do everything I can as an active councillor, as I normally would do, just within a very confined space. Thank goodness I have an operating phone. Ultimately… it’s a very surreal scenario to be in.”

Contact was at meeting last Thursday

On Monday, Matlow said he received a call telling him about the possible exposure.

The councillor was at a meeting last Thursday that included a person who had just returned from a conference in Washington D.C. That person later tested positive for the virus.

“I certainly spoke with that person,” Matlow said.

Another person at the meeting, which involved a tour of a venue in preparation for a fundraiser, called him with the news.

Matlow said he immediately called Toronto Public Health for advice. Out of an abundance of caution, he was told to self-isolate. Everyone who was at the meeting is being informed, he added.

Every day that he is in isolation, Matlow said he is taking his temperature and getting advice from a medical professional.

Matlow added he is showing no symptoms of COVID-19. He has also not yet been advised to get tested.

Family not at ‘elevated risk’ of getting virus

In a news release on Monday, Matlow said: “It is very important to note that I have been informed by Dr. de Villa that because I am asymptomatic, no one, including my family, is at an elevated risk of having contracted the virus due to contact with me.”

Matlow said he will have to cancel all public events during the period of self-isolation. Those events include a community meeting scheduled for Tuesday to support Mabel’s Fables bookstore, which is facing a large rent hike.

The meeting will be rescheduled. A new date, time and location will be released as soon as possible, he said.

Matlow said the medical officer of health, along with her team, has provided him with “prompt, informative” advice. He urged everyone to seek information about COVID-19 from credible sources.

“I’m hoping, obviously, I am as well as I feel today in 14 days and that life can get back to normal,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be a challenging 14 days.”

Ontario health officials announced four new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total in the province to 35.

CBC

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