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Ontario hospitals asked by province to reduce COVID-19 testing to prevent backlog

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal on May 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Questions continue to be raised about the province’s COVID-19 testing system, with some GTA hospitals reportedly being told to reduce their testing volumes.

The Toronto Star said it has seen a memo from Ontario Health, asking some hospitals to reduce the number of tests they do in a day, in an effort to reduce the persistent backlog of unprocessed tests.

The Toronto Star reports while some testing targets have remained the same, the number of people getting swabbed is dropping.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Cost of COVID-19 tests to taxpayers revealed

At Mississauga’s Trillium Health Partners, the number of daily tests done at its assessment centres has recently dropped by more than half.

Doctors said the switch to appointment-based bookings has just moved line-ups online, they say it is shifting the testing backlog to before swabs are collected, rather than after.

Doctor Andrew Morris with Sinai Health System and University Health Network told the Toronto Star the numbers being reported by the province right now are useless. He said we aren’t flattening the curve, we’re hiding it.

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