There was a bit of awkwardness today at the news conference staged by the Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott as they announced what amounts to a significant change in the availability of testing. After months of telling all Ontarians to get tested for COVID whether they were symptomatic or not, the Public Health Officers latest advice is to restrict testing to persons with
- Showing COVID-19 symptoms;
- Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
- A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your local public health unit; and
- Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
Starting Friday, persons who do not qualify under the new standards can get tested for COVID-19 at select pharmacies.
Public Health test centres have been overwhelmed with people seeking COVID testing since school resumes this month and the changes seem to be an attempt to triage resources which may have greater demands placed ion them once regular flu season arrives later this fall. A Government of Ontario news release says, “the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed, the province must also adapt its approach to testing. With the upcoming flu and cold season approaching, we need to ensure Ontario’s publicly-funded testing resources are available for those who need them the most, such as school children and others with symptoms of COVID-19.”
Ford explained the change in strategy to reporters,