NDP calls for more testing sites as kids go back to school, lines grow

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Andrea Horwath NDP

TORONTO — The Official Opposition is calling on the government to open more COVID-19 testing sites right away as more than two million students and staff head back to school, and line ups at some testing centres grow out of control.

“We’re hearing about and seeing line ups out the door and around the block at some COVID-19 testing centres,” said NDP Education critic Marit Stiles. “As kids go back to school, we want students, staff and family members to get tested if they have symptoms, or if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 at school. We can’t have long lines, long waits and potentially dangerous crowding outside COVID-19 testing centres.

“Doug Ford’s bargain basement back-to-school scheme is even more dangerous if children, families, teachers and education workers are being turned away from testing centres.”

The Doug Ford government drew criticism throughout the spring for testing too few people daily, and ramping up COVID-19 testing far too slowly. Stiles said Ford should learn from that mistake.

NDP MPP Jessica Bell (University Rosedale) visited the COVID-19 testing site at Women’s College Hospital on Friday after her community office received complaints about long lines at multiple testing centres, and people walking away without getting the test they need.

“One woman told me her wait to get tested was four hours,” said Bell. “Waiting for hours on end is impossible for many, a real nightmare for school-aged little ones, and could be dangerous for the elderly. The Ford government has a track record of cutting, freezing and squeezing, and we just can’t afford for him to do that now.”

To date, 13 schools and 56 child care centres have already had COVID-19 cases.

The NDP has also called for in-home testing for people with disabilities, when getting to a testing centre or waiting in a line is a barrier.