Hundreds of Niagara residents continue to get tested for COVID-19 every day, many because of their occupation, but it is the people with symptoms that public health workers want to be dabbed the most.
Coughs, sneezes or sniffers – even people who don’t think too much about their symptoms – are encouraged to take tests so public health can keep an eye on the virus.
“This is the group we want to get tested,” said Dr. Mustafa Hirji, interim Niagara medical officer of health.
Niagara had no new cases of COVID-19 reported on Monday. There were seven cases over the weekend, including two people who fell ill from community transmissions with no known source and five people who had contact with previously known cases.
Getting tested with or without symptoms can affect the results.
Hirji said one of the cases reported over the weekend was a person who had been tested before having symptoms. The day after the test, symptoms started to develop.
Because the patient tested negative on the same day the symptoms developed, he ignored them for several days. At this point they were retested and the results came back positive.
“There is a lot of talk about how if you’ve been in contact with someone you should get tested and in many cases it won’t show anything until you actually have symptoms,” he said. Hirji said.
“You are not going to have a reliably positive test, even though you might have COVID. “
Hirji said people can test positive before they develop symptoms, but it’s more reliable when symptoms are present because of the way the test was designed.
There are no restrictions on how often people can be tested, but public health does not recommend people to go repeatedly for no good reason, as turnaround times are already slower than ‘he would not like.
Hirji said there were around 750 to 1,000 tests done every day in Niagara at assessment centers, long-term care homes and retirement homes, by primary care providers and inside hospitals.
There have been 916 cases of COVID-19 among Niagara residents since the outbreak began, 817 people have recovered and at least 64 deaths. As of Monday, there were 35 active cases.
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