Ontario’s new testing strategy highlights complexities of second wave: experts


Medical experts say an abrupt shift in Ontario’s testing strategy highlights the complexities of responding to a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Doug Ford’s government announced today that assessment centres would revert back to testing only symptomatic individuals, those who’ve come into contact with a case and those who work in high-risk settings.

Testing for asymptomatic residents is available at up to 60 pharmacies by appointment starting on Friday.

The move marks a sharp reversal from the message the government touted for months that anyone could obtain a test if they wanted one, regardless of their symptoms or possible exposure level.

Doctors shaping Ontario’s pandemic response say the shift is necessary to preserve the province’s testing capacity, which has been severely strained in recent weeks as case numbers climb.

Some epidemiologists say the change makes sense and is based on sound science, while others argue it represents the latest in a long line of failed efforts to curb COVID-19 in the province.