'This couldn't have been predicted': CTV's Stefan Keyes positive for COVID-19 while in South Africa

CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes has tested positive for COVID-19 while in South Africa.

The weekend news anchor and reporter told the CTV News at Six that he took a PCR test on Sunday and he tested positive.

Keyes had travelled to South Africa for a wedding but, while there, the Omicron variant was formally identified and countries around the world, including Canada, began to bar travellers from the region. Keyes said that he took the test in advance of a planned flight out of the country, and later learned he had COVID-19.

"I did take the test prior to the wedding, so I know that I did not catch it at the wedding," he said. "That's also another unfortunate development for me because that means that I unknowingly attended the wedding with it."

He said everyone who was at the wedding, including himself, is in isolation. He's been asked to isolate for at least 10 days in Cape Town.

Last week, Keyes said he had intended to find a way to return to Canada as countries were shutting their borders, but then news of his positive test result came in.

Keyes said he developed mild symptoms Monday, but was fine the entire trip beforehand.

"I woke up feeling a little off, but then I kind of shook it off a little bit. Then I realized I may have had a low-grade fever and my throat started to be a little itchy," he said. "I'm not completely down for the count. I don't feel fatigued or achy."

He said he has had some coughing fits and is watching the situation carefully.

His test has only said COVID-19 was detected, but he suspects he's contracted the new Omicron variant.

"My test only says COVID detected but I suspect it's the Omicron variant because we've been very diligent while we're here. We mask up indoors, we've been dining outdoors because it's summertime here. It was an outdoor wedding."

Keyes is unsure when he'll be able to return to Canada and to the airwaves.

"The longer we stay here, the harder it would be to get home," he said. "Upon arrival into Canada, I'll be asked to isolate again. Do the math, at least probably 24 days to a month that I could be away."

He says he made the choice to travel based on the best knowledge he had at the time. News of the variant developed quickly after his arrival in South Africa.

"This couldn’t have been predicted," he said. "I'm very knowledgeable about the pandemic and how it operates around the world, but this was a celebration of love for a fraternity brother I love deeply, and all of his guests are here out of love for that couple.

"We did everything right. I had a negative PCR test to come down here. The world had not shut down. The government did not advise us not to go on both sides across the Atlantic. Travelling right now is definitely a calculated risk and I got caught up in the mix."