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Ontario to accelerate COVID testing

Ontario will ramp up its testing capacity with priority groups to protect the “most vulnerable,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said.

The province plans to double the number of tests processed daily to 8,000 by April 15 and 14,000 by April 29, Ford said in a briefing in Toronto.

The province currently has 100 assessment centers for testing the general public. In addition to that, it will begin proactively testing priority groups deemed at higher risk, including hospital inpatients, nursing and retirement home residents, healthcare workers and first responders, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott said during the briefing.

“By significantly increasing the number of tests each day, we will identify cases early, contain them and prevent putting more people at risk,” Elliott said.

This testing strategy follows extensive efforts to expand Ontario’s lab testing capacity, which helped to quickly eliminate a backlog of approximately 10,000 people within less than two weeks, the province said in a statement released Friday.

To date, the province has conducted over 94,000 tests. Ontario has reported over 6,200 Covid-19 cases, about a third of Canada’s total, and over 200 deaths as of 11 a.m. local time.

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