Former Ontario Attorney General John Gerretsen diagnosed with COVID-19 at CFB Trenton

MP for Kingston and the Islands Mark Gerretsen has announced his father, former Kingston politician and Ontario Attorney General, John Gerretsen has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

John’s wife Assunta was diagnosed with the disease earlier this week, after she and John were repatriated back to Canada from the Grand Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined off the coast of California due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The two, along with hundreds of other Canadians, were in quarantine at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in Ontario after their arrival on March 10.

The federal government says nine repatriated travellers have contracted the disease, although the Public Health Agency of Canada has not confirmed that all of those travellers were on the Grand Princess.

Mark, in a tweet sent out Thursday, said his mother was feeling much better, but that his father was showing more severe signs of the illness, including a fever.

Just under 230 Canadian passengers were flown back to Canada earlier this month, after dozens of people tested positive for novel coronavirus on the ship.

Although the ship had 237 Canadian passengers, only 228 were allowed on the flight back to CFB Trenton, since those passengers were not showing symptoms at the time. Some of the nine other Canadians not allowed back in Canada, as well as a number of crew members, had tested positive for the disease.

Since their arrival at the base, several people, including the Gerretsens, have fallen ill, despite not showing symptoms on the plane. Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, the local public health unit, noted that one of the passengers on the chartered flight back to Canada did start showing symptoms. It’s unclear if this is the cause of the other cases at the base.

The Canadian Red Cross has a team of caregivers on-site to tend to those who are ill.

Mark Gerretsen said his father John was grateful to those who have been caring for him and his wife.

“He reiterated to me that he wanted everyone to know how incredible the staff and people working around the clock at CFB Trenton have been. He is extremely grateful that they are in Canada receiving care,” Mark wrote on Thursday.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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