Yesterday, Premier Ford announced that 60 pharmacies will offer COVID-19 tests to asymptomatic people and that three Toronto hospitals will pilot more palatable COVID-19 saline rinse tests for children.
The current nasal PCR swab test involves inserting a swab far into a subject’s nose, causing discomfort.
Ontario’s current COVID-19 screening capacity has been overwhelmed by demand from people fearful of infection amid a surge in COVID-19 infection in the province.
Queues of up to seven hours were reported in Peel Region last week, prompting Ontario’s chief medical officer to suggest to those with no known contact with a case and no symptoms to wait maybe to request a test.
The demand for testing has also been driven in part by employees whose employers require a negative test to return to work after respiratory illness, as well as by children whose school demands the same before returning to class or leaving school. be seen by a family doctor. .
The Ford government has responded to the demand for testing by increasing hours of service at its more than 140 assessment centers across the province, as well as adding additional testing sites in areas like Ottawa or Brampton.
At a test site visited by CP24 in Brampton on Wednesday, the wait for a test was only 25 minutes.
However, the demand for testing has exceeded the capacity to collect samples and process tests.
As of Wednesday, 48,000 samples were awaiting processing across the province, far exceeding the known maximum daily processing capacity of about 40,000 samples.
Timely processing of tests is imperative so as not to delay tracing the close contacts of each infected person to stop the spread of the virus.
On Wednesday evening, Public Health Ontario (PHO) reported a system outage that officials said could delay some COVID-19 test results.
The outage, according to PHO, was resolved Thursday morning and normal operations have now resumed.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province will reach the capacity to process 50,000 specimens per day this month.
The briefing will involve Ontario Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Chief Coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer, Ontario Health CEO Matthew Anderson, and the Chief of Microbiology at the Public Health Laboratory. Ontario, Dr. Vanessa Allen.