Two Canadian Jewish lawmakers no longer in self-isolation

Michael Levitt

Two Canadian Jewish lawmakers who were under self-isolation for COVID-19, MP Michael Levitt of Toronto’s York Centre riding and MP Anthony Housefather of Mount Royal riding, have progressed to self-monitoring for the virus. The two lawmakers first went into self-isolation after coming into contact with a Toronto man with the virus at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2020 Conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Levitt said he was downgraded from self-isolation to self-monitoring after an in-depth interview with Toronto Public Health, which felt confident downgrading him due to his lack of close contact with the infected person and absence of symptoms as well as his continued feeling of good health. He is still on the lookout for symptoms and will avoid large group gatherings as long as he is self-monitoring.

“The original self-isolation was done out of an abundance of caution, which allowed public health authorities to do their essential work in investigating and tracing this case, and I will continue to follow their instructions,” Levitt said in his statement. “At every step, Toronto Public Health has been responsive, clear, and reassuring in their guidance, and I could not be prouder of the public health system in our city and country.”

Coun. Josh Matlow, of the Toronto-St. Paul’s riding, who came into contact with the infected man from Toronto while attending a fundraiser for Out of the Cold on March 5, remains in self-isolation. The man, a lay leader at Beth Sholom Synagogue, tested positive for COVID-19 after his return from AIPAC.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus, which causes the diseases COVID-19, a pandemic on Wednesday March 11.

Generally the virus only causes mild or moderate symptoms such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath. But for some people, especially the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions, it can cause more severe symptoms such as pneumonia. In some cases it can result in death, but according to the WHO, most people recover within two weeks, although people with a more severe illness might take up to six weeks to recover.