Ontario will now test anyone with symptoms for COVID-19
TORONTO -- Ontario is expanding its testing guidance for COVID-19 to include anyone displaying symptoms of the disease in the community for the first time since the outbreak began, as a sector-wide screen of long-term care residents is nearly finished.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said that on Thursday, the Ministry of Health will update its testing guidance for doctors so that people displaying symptoms will be tested, even if they are not tied to a priority sector such as long-term care, hospital or an otherwise vulnerable community group.
Since May 2, testing has been directed at long-term care residents and staff, hospital patients and staff, families of hospital patients and staff, essential workers including first responders, cross-border workers, Indigenous communities and residents or staff of other congregate settings such as shelters, group homes or correctional facilities.
Testing of asymptomatic persons in the community generally does not occur, as asymptomatic testing is only be done on close contacts of confirmed cases in congregate settings or as otherwise recommended by local public health units.
Ontario has slowly but steadily increased its testing capacity for the virus after early criticism from the public about capacity, from a few thousand per day in March to up to 20,000 per day in May.
The province has completed 493,000 tests for novel coronavirus infection since Jan. 25, with 21,494 testing positive to date.