Ontario expands guidelines for priority COVID-19 testing

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TORONTO — Ontario is expanding its testing for COVID-19 priority groups, including for residents and staff of homeless shelters and group homes, people living with health-care workers and cancer patients.

Premier Doug Ford has expressed frustration that Ontario has been processing a daily number of tests well below its capacity of 13,000.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott says the new guidelines will help Ontario take full advantage of the testing capacity it has built, and will help the province more effectively identify and contain cases among vulnerable populations.

The new guidelines say people living and working in “congregate” settings such as homeless shelters, correctional facilities and group homes should be tested as soon as possible if they have symptoms such as fever, pneumonia or “any new or worsening symptom.”

Essential workers, cross-border workers, and people living with health-care workers, care providers and first responders are also now to be tested as soon as possible if they develop symptoms.

The guidelines also say people who need to be in frequent contact with the health system, including cancer patients, people undergoing dialysis and pregnant women should be tested as soon as they develop symptoms.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press