ONTARIO: Chief medical officer issues new COVID-19 testing guidelines

James Marshall
April 10, 2020

Today's announcement (April 8) came from Premier Doug Ford, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

With 69 outbreaks confirmed in long-term care homes across the province, the decision to be more diligent with testing in these vulnerable families is a top priority for the province.

One sign of how narrowly Ontario's testing is focused on the most likely cases: almost 15 per cent of the test results announced on Tuesday were positive.

Toronto Public Health said Wednesday that at least 16 residents had died due to COVID-19 in Seven Oaks long-term care home, with another 45 confirmed and 56 probable cases among the 249 residents.

"I want to see every single long-term care facility tested, every patient, I want to see the healthcare workers tested at the long-term along with senior residents", Ford said. We have been listening to business owners and employees, the truth is that everyone working in our grocery stores, pharmacies, our truck drivers and those working the line, they have been working day and night for weeks to keep the food and medicine we need on the shelves. "We will continue to exhaust every possible avenue available to us to ensure we protect our frontline health care workers against COVID-19".

The past five days indicated Ontario hadn't been using the full might of its testing abilities, with testing numbers staying under 5,000 tests a day.

The reason for the shortfall appears to be that Ontario continues to restrict who gets tested by recommending against testing people who have not recently travelled internationally, even if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

"No more excuses, it's unacceptable", said Ford.

Ford didn't assign blame for the lack of testing being done, but he did promise to increase it.

Quebec announced Thursday that 216 people have now died of COVID-19 in the province and that the number of confirmed cases in Quebec stands at 10,912.

Economic uncertainty from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused the value of building permits issued across Canada to decrease in March, according to figures from Statistics Canada (StatCan). "Testing should have been massively scaled up there last week", says Moriarty.

There are now 99 assessment centres open in Ontario.

The largest age group with COVID-19 is those between 40 and 59 years old (1,996). Thirteen staff have tested positive.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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