Then-candidate Ron Kore in 2018. VOICE FILE

In statement, Ron Kore says he followed the rules, criticizes Town handling of his COVID-19 diagnosis

[UPDATED]

Ron Kore, the Sobeys franchisee and Pelham Town Councillor who continued to go to work and engage in council business while displaying symptoms of respiratory illness, has broken his media silence of four days.

In a statement dated Saturday, April 25, but emailed to the Voice on Sunday afternoon, Kore asserts that he has followed Niagara Region Public Health guidelines regarding COVID-19.

Kore says that he was informed on Monday, April 13, by Public Health that he had been in the presence of an infected individual. Kore does not specify when this encounter occurred. The Voice has previously reported that those in the room with Councillor Mike Ciolfi during council’s March 23 meeting were contacted by Public Health as a result of Ciolfi’s subsequent positive test result.

When he requested to be tested for the virus, Kore says that he was told by a Public Health nurse that it was unnecessary. He then went to his doctor.

“[The doctor] did make arrangements for me to be tested for the virus,” says Kore. “My test was scheduled for April 17th and the only time I left self-quarantine since the 13th was to get the test administered.”

Three days later, on April 20, Kore says that he was informed by Public Health that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Yet Kore also says that Public Health immediately cleared him to return to work.

“That day I was informed by a nurse at Niagara Region Public Health (‘NRPH’) that I was no longer infectious,” Kore says, “and she had: ‘verified with our medical officer of health at Niagara Region Public Health Dr. Hirji that you can resume your normal activities of work and do not need to self-isolate.’”

Kore says that out of an abundance of caution and notwithstanding NRPH’s recommendations, “I have remained in self-quarantine and will do so for 14 days since testing positive.”

Sobeys had already mandated that Kore remain away from work for 14 days following his positive result.

“As a 63-year-old individual with a history of heart disease, I would never take a risk with my health, the health of my wife, employees or colleagues at Town Hall,” says Kore.

Kore criticizes the Town of Pelham’s handling of his diagnosis.

“The Town’s response on this matter has been reckless and irresponsible. Further speculation is not warranted and would be completely inappropriate.”

Asked to respond, Mayor Marvin Junkin extended his best wishes to Kore, and said, “Town of Pelham staff and Mr. Kore’s colleagues are happy to hear that his health is improving. We at the Town are still waiting for Mr. Kore to reach out to us on a personal level.”

CAO David Cribbs pushed back at Kore’s characterization of the municipality’s response.

“The Town is unaware of any of its statements being irresponsible,” said Cribbs. “The Town has only made statements that attempt to respond to questions from the public and that convey its best information to encourage healthy and safe practices for all members of the community, including elected officials.”

“It would appear that Councillor Kore is either recovered or largely recovered from his recent illness and his return to work will be welcomed,” Cribbs added.

Niagara Region Public Health Communications Consultant Kerri Stoakley confirmed that Public Health told Kore that he did not have to remain in quarantine past April 20, the day that he received his test result.

This was due to the health department’s determination that the illness had already run its course, and consequently Kore’s most infectious period was already behind him, occurring while he continued working and was not in self-isolation, possibly for several weeks.

“The current COVID-19 real time PCR test remains positive for many weeks after one fully resolves from infection,” said Stoakley.

Stoakley would not say what date Kore was presumed to have been infected.

“We can confirm that he was a contact of another case, as Mr. Kore has written. But we can’t comment on details about that other case, nor did we tell Mr. Kore a presumed date of exposure (which would not be stated to Mr. Kore in order to protect the identity of the other case).”

Kore’s full statement appears below.

 

Statement from Ron Kore, Councillor, Ward 2 – Town of Pelham

Hello:

Enclosed, please find my statement regarding the speculation in the press over the past few days. I have no further comment.

Thank you,
Ron Kore

STATEMENT FROM RON KORE, COUNCILLOR, WARD 2 – TOWN OF PELHAM

PELHAM, ONTARIO – April 25, 2020 – I last attended a Town Council meeting on March 23rd. I sat at a table by myself and at a distance from others in excess of Niagara Region Public Health’s physical distancing recommendations. At that time, my wife and I were regularly monitoring ourselves for symptoms as outlined by Public Health. I took Public Health’s self-assessment test each day and I did not have the symptoms to qualify for a test at that time.

On April 13th, a nurse from Public Health informed me that I had been in contact with someone that tested positive for COVID-19. I made a request to be tested but she said I did not require a test. I contacted my physician to discuss my health and consider a test. He did make arrangements for me to be tested for the virus. My test was scheduled for April 17th and the only time I left self-quarantine since the 13th was to get the test administered.

On April 20th I received confirmation that I had tested positive for COVID-19; however, that day I was informed by a nurse at Niagara Region Public Health (“NRPH”) that I was no longer infectious and she had: “verified with our medical officer of health at Niagara Region Public Health Dr. Hirji that you can resume your normal activities of work and do not need to self-isolate.”

To set the record straight, I waive my privacy rights regarding the correspondence Niagara Region Public Health provided me and encourage them to make public their recommendations to me about returning to work.

Out of an abundance of caution and notwithstanding NRPH’s recommendations, I have remained in self-quarantine and will do so for 14 days since testing positive.

As a 63-year-old individual with a history of heart disease, I would never take a risk with my health, the health of my wife, employees or colleagues at Town Hall.

The Town’s response on this matter has been reckless and irresponsible. Further speculation is not warranted and would be completely inappropriate.

 

RELATED: Store employee reacts to Kore’s Sunday statement

RELATED: OPINION—Good people can do bad things

 

Updated April 26, 7 PM, with comment from Niagara Region Public Health.

Updated April 26, 9 PM, with comment from Pelham officials.

 

16 COMMENTS

    • I stand by my previous comments, I doubt he did the self-assessment adequately. some of the questions specifically ask whether one has a runny nose, cough, sore throat and voice hoarseness. He must have been answering no to all of these. He clearly exhibited these as seen on video in the council. He clearly exhibited these symptoms in the store as his staff was asking him to go home. The test site also states if you live in a rural area with a rural postal code containing a zero eg L0S, one would qualify for a covid test. If he was tested positive and told he could return to work then Niagara Health has failed us.

      What about his staff what about the town council members who had to work with him why is Public health not notifying these people as they had supposedly notified him about his own exposure to covid. Further, he was working while he had the virus. He would not have just developed the virus on the day he was tested. You’re infectious for at least two weeks prior to developing symptoms. Why is he not quarantining staff who were working in close proximity? How noble of him to be spending time isolating now but he still hasn’t shown that he cares for council members or his staff and presents himself as the persecuted hero. What a crock. Everyone else that has been diagnosed positive that I know has had to come up with a list of people and places they have been with. Notices were posted in public areas and facilities shuttered for a week at a time informing the public that if they attended the business between certain dates, they should be tested or least isolate.

      If Mr. Kore has been exonerated by public health we should all be asking them why we are staying in social distancing if he can go back to work while testing positive. We should be asking why there was no public notice posted at his store that someone tested positive.

      While Mr. Kore accuses Town Council of being reckless maybe he should be asking himself why he was working while clearly going through a respiratory illness. Maybe he should be asking why he didn’t inform The town he tested positive. He is clearly now waving his patient rights so why couldn’t he have done so sooner. All I see is a man who doesn’t get it.

      • Addendum to previous comment. If he suffers from a heart condition he should have been doubly cautious as it is a known fact that heart disease makes patients more vulnerable to upper and lower respiratory infections and consequences can include heart failure, pneumonia. Obviously, he wasn’t thinking about these while sneezing, coughing and carrying on in public and at home.

  1. Maybe he didn’t think he was putting himself or his wife/family in jeopardy by continuing to show up at Sobeys but I disagree. When I was in this store on Apr 2, he was standing approx 3 ft from me when he coughed directly on me with no attempt to cover his mouth/face. No apology, just walked away. I am so furious! Tried to get tested but they tell me I have to display symptoms to be considered. Do not even go there Mr Kore with your explanations or excuses.You put so many people at risk including myself. I cannot believe you have not been charged with reckless endangerment. Stay out of my life and I will be forever be staying out of this Sobeys. By the way, I emailed Sobeys head office three days ago and have not rec’d a reply.

    • I feel so bad for you.. this was so irresponsible of HIM.. he obviously thinks he’s so important he should go to work sick (even if he didn’t think he had Covid) he had something.

  2. March 23rd you were obviously sick! You were sick onward and continued to work risking others! You just don’t seem to get it! It’s a Viral Pandemic, your sick with a runny noise, coughing etc. STAY HOME!!!!!!! Don’t go to council meetings, you even tried to go to another meeting after march 23rd refusing to do it virtually then when challenged about attending you stayed away and then did not attend the meeting virtually! What kind of a public servant does that!
    Now you try to justify your very poor behavior.

  3. Sure nice of him to offer condolences in his statement to the family of a fellow councilman who had just passed away.
    Just confirms his character.

    • Kore’s most infectious period according to the public heath consultant was during the time he was working.

      While he may not of known he had covid his respiratory illness should have been a red light. He recklessly attended work and council while coughing sneezing and having a runny nose. Even if these hadn’t been related to covid, this man works in the food industry and is always hands on. Respiratory illnesses in of themselves can cause death or other serious sequellae.

      For immuno suppressed individuals like myself, I have a rare cancer, exposure to individuals displaying respiratory illness or influenza can result in death. We need to know that wherever we shop for our food every attempt is being made to create a safe environment. Unfortunately Kore didn’t set the example he continued to work while sick, and now that illness has been verified as covid a very deadly contagious disease. He should have practiced his abundance of caution when he became ill with the resiratory symptoms.

  4. I am sorry but l highly doubt he went in to endanger others. There has been many people sick previous to the shut downs l hope he has a steady recovery ,and all staff and customers to be safe.

  5. This carefully crafted response by Mr. Kore is nothing more than an attempt to blame others for his multiple errors in judgment. Mr.Kore was in complete control of his ability to self isolate on the first sigh of symptoms. His judgment put many lives in jeopardy during this pandemic because of his attenting to his on-site position at Sobey’s; a grocery store where thousands of people shop.

  6. Follow the money … Did Mr. Kore have anything to gain by keeping his shop open?
    To blame everyone but oneself is lame. If you are sick, you stay home. Certainly looks like the shop owner has at least the flu. Whether flu or Covid everyone stays home, especially when you are dealing with the public !

    On top of this he is a Town Councillor. He knew the deal.

    So he is either not very bright or simply reckless and endangering others with no regard to public safety.

    Does not sound like the town, public health nor the “nurse” he seems to blame are the culprits here. Hope his liability insurance is paid up.

    Nice lawyer crafted note BTW !

  7. Public Health was telling people to stay home if they were sick with any flu like symptoms… which he was exhibiting. He should have taken the RESPONSIBILITY and stayed home. But of course he did not.

    As much as he wants to blame others, the fault ultimately lies with him. Authorities can tell you to stay home, but if you are stubborn enough to ignore them and make your own rules, things like this will happen.

    I wish the stay at Fonthill Sobeys the best of health, and the community to stay safe. Take some responsibility for yourself Ron.

  8. I do not believe Ron Kore intentionality went out to harm anyone. I used to work for Ron, and he is one of the most hard working, caring, and humble people I have ever met/worked for.
    His generosity for the community, his staff, and for every customer is truly memorable.
    With all of that being said, I am not surprised that he went into work after he was given the go ahead by THE HEALTH SYSTEM. He is, or was, more than likely working his heart out to provide a clean and safe store environment during this time. He is not one to sit on the sidelines and watch things get done.
    I do not know the true details regarding this matter, nor does anyone else leaving comments and slandering his name, but I do know the type of human being he is. I am not one for leaving comments, but I felt the need to as I knew him on a personal level at one point in my life.
    Thank you Ron, for being my first boss, for giving so much to the community and charities, and for being an overall great man.

      • Karrie – simply said your comment is really in bad taste. It is also nice to see that we have a good number of clairvoyants and experienced MD’s? in town that appear to have all of the answers on social media. We are in the midst of something never experienced for about 100 years. What we really need is to support one another rather than piling on relative to one situation.

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