• Nicole Chu and Tanya Li

COVID-19 Testing in Ontario

Testing! Testing! Testing! We’ve all heard on the news and social media multiple times about getting tested for COVID-19. While the importance of testing has been repeatedly emphasized throughout the past few months, the exact details of “where and how one should get tested” may still be a bit blurred for many people, and the thought of being tested may be quite intimidating itself. This blog will be outlining the testing information required by Ottawa Public Health as of October 14, 2020 and attempt to demystify any fears surrounding this topic. An important disclaimer is that this blog post is not a verified source and only attempts to summarize any important information, for more details, please visit the Ottawa Public Health website: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx# .


The World Health Organization has urged many countries to step-up on testing numbers. Nevertheless, this push for broader testing has reached a practical limit due to the need to prioritize vulnerable citizens, such as elderly residents or those who have travelled to an area with the outbreak. Therefore, it is adamant to go over the 4 main reasons to seek testing for COVID-19 to ensure you are not taking the spot of someone who truly requires testing. These conditions include:

1) If you are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms (for more clarification of symptoms, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx#),

2) You have been exposed to a confirmed positive case, as notified by the COVID 19 alert app or Ottawa Public Health authorities,

3) You are a part of a workplace that has had an outbreak,

4) You are part of a government initiative targeted testing group as directed by the Ministry of Health.


If you meet one of these requirements, now what? If you are exhibiting symptoms, book an appointment for your local testing centre. However, as of September 25, Ontario has also begun COVID-19 testing at up to 60 pharmacies across the province (Ontario expands…, 2020). These testing centres are available by appointment for asymptomatic individuals, and comes as a result of the province’s plan to prevent or minimize the second wave of COVID-19. These testing centers are located at specified local pharmacies (such as Shoppers or Rexall) and deliver testing for individuals with no symptoms.


Image source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/gatineau-covid-19-testing-1.5497800


Once you have completed testing, you can self-isolate by staying home, avoiding contact with others, and washing your hands frequently. It is important to stay calm. If you tested positive, your local health authorities will contact you and advise you of the next steps to take. If you have tested negative, it is important to remember that your test results are only a reflection of the time your sample was collected. It is crucial to continue to monitor your condition and take preventative measures to protect your health and the health of others around you.

For more information, please visit the websites below.


https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx


https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet/2020/06/factsheet-covid-19-test-what-you-should-know.pdf?la=en


Sources:

Ontario Expands COVID-19 Testing to Pharmacies. (September 23, 2020). Ontario News. Retrieved fromhttps://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58492/ontario-expands-covid-19-testing-to-pharmacies


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