UPDATE: Member of Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table resigns after travelling abroad
The Ontario Ministry of Health has issued a statement tonight, indicating that Dr. Tom Stewart has resigned from the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, following reports he travelled to the Dominican Republic from December 18 to January 5.
The statement indicates that Dr. Stewart, CEO of St. Joseph's Health System and the Niagara Health System, has resigned from his role with the advisory table.
"Helen Angus, Ontario's Deputy Minister of Health, has accepted Dr. Tom Stewart's resignation from the Health Coordination Table, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, and the LTC Incident Management System Table. The people of Ontario have made countless sacrifices during the pandemic and it remains critically important that everyone continues to follow public health advice. We all have a part to play to stop the spread of COVID-19," the statement reads.
As Newstalk1010 told you earlier this evening, a spokesperson from St. Joe's confirmed that Dr. Stewart was given approval for the vacation.
Newstalk1010 reached out to St. Joseph's Health System for comment. They issued a statement tonight:
St. Joseph's Health System CEO Dr. Tom Stewart was on approved vacation from Dec. 18 - Jan 05. During that time, he travelled to the Dominican Republic.
We recognize and value the efforts of all our staff who have been working tirelessly and with great dedication. We encourage and support our staff taking vacation time while following public health advice.
"I regret this non-essential travel and I'm sorry," said Dr. Stewart. "I recognize everyone should be avoiding non-essential travel now, including me."
"As a health system leader, my actions in no way reflect the tireless dedication and commitment of the staff at St. Joseph's Health System, who continue to live the legacy of our organization every day."
Dr. Stewart will be self-isolating at home for two weeks.
There's been a lot of reaction on social media to Dr. Stewart's trip abroad. One particular tweet, posted last October, on the doctor's own Twitter account, is drawing a lot of attention:
Newstalk1010 will continue to follow this developing story and bring you any new details as they become available.