Ontario chief medical officer issues new COVID-19 testing guidelines

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TORONTO — Ontario’s chief medical officer of health says in a new memo that all health-care workers and first responders should be tested for COVID-19 as soon as they develop any symptoms, even atypical ones.

Dr. David Williams also says that anyone newly admitted to a long-term care home should be tested, as well as residents — even asymptomatic ones — who have had contact with a confirmed case.

The expanded guidance stops short of a call Premier Doug Ford issued Wednesday for every long-term care resident, front-line health-care worker and first responder to be tested.

Ford was expressing frustration over the number of daily COVID-19 tests performed in Ontario falling well short of its lab processing capacity.

Williams’ memo says testing of asymptomatic patients, residents or staff is generally not recommended.

The top doctor has also issued a new directive to long-term care homes requiring all staff and essential visitors to wear masks while they are in those facilities, whether there is an active outbreak or not.