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Ford government puts $1 billion toward testing, announces new testing guidelines

Last Updated Sep 24, 2020 at 2:27 pm EDT

Ontario health officials say low-risk individuals who are asymptomatic should not be going to assessment centres for a COVID-19 test.

Associate chief medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says that testing needs to be reserved for people with symptoms, or those who have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Previously, the province had encouraged anyone who wanted to get a COVID-19 test to seek one at an assessment centre.

The change today comes as assessment centres across the province have been struggling with long-line ups.

The province saw a processing backlog of nearly 50,000 tests on Wednesday as demand for the assessments surged because of the return to school and a sudden increase in cases.

 

New Funding

Premier Doug Ford also announced today his government will be putting an additional $1 billion toward increasing COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

Ford says they are ramping up testing to 50,000 processed a day and hiring an additional 500 contact tracers.

The new funding also includes $70 million announced earlier this week to purchase additional flu shots.

The government announced yesterday that asymptomatic individuals can also make an appointment to get a COVID-19 test at up to 60 pharmacies across the province starting Friday.

It’s not clear if all of those pharmacies will be ready tomorrow morning.

Ford said today testing will also soon be made available through some doctor’s offices.

Future planks of the province’s fall COVID-19 strategy will address ways to reduce health service backlogs, prepare for case surges, and recruit and train health-care workers.

 

With files from the Canadian Press

 

 

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