Ontario government orders agencies to stop providing parents with rapid coronavirus antigen tests – .

Ontario government orders agencies to stop providing parents with rapid coronavirus antigen tests – .

The Ontario Ministry of Health has ordered several agencies to stop providing rapid COVID-19 antigen tests to parents as a growing number have requested the tests to create their own testing programs. ad hoc surveillance in schools.

Officials at two agencies responsible for distributing rapid tests to the public from stock purchased by the federal government told CP24 that the Department of Health had ordered them to stop distributing tests to parents and restrict the distribution of tests to small businesses only.

A relative in Toronto’s Deer Park neighborhood told CP24 he applied for the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s rapid test distribution program and was turned down twice this week.

A council denial, sent on Monday, said “parent / volunteer groups do not meet the eligibility criteria for this program and as such your appointment has been canceled.”

A number of other parent groups have already used the council’s online portal to access testing supplies used to develop their do-it-yourself monitoring programs this school year.

“As we have been asked to do by the government, when it is clear that an application comes from an organization that does not fit the category (small and medium enterprises), we inform them that they are ineligible and let’s direct them to the appropriate provincial channel for further support, ”Toronto Region Board of Trade spokesperson Lindsay Broadhead told CP24 on Wednesday.

An official with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, which oversees chambers of commerce that distribute rapid tests, told CP24 nothing has changed and parents and community groups should never have been eligible for receive rapid test supplies.

But they did not comment when they were informed of the recent refusals and refusals of supply expressed at CP24 by several parents.

A representative from Communitech’s StaySafe program in Kitchener said the Department of Health contacted them in the past 48 hours and ordered them not to provide rapid COVID-19 tests to their “ambassadors,” around 4,000 parents. and others who were previously authorized to do so. sign up and receive regular supplies of test kits, no questions asked.

All will now be excluded. Communitech and the Stay Safe program distribute tests on behalf of local chambers of commerce and all three levels of government.

A note sent to those who applied for testing at Communitech said their volunteers misunderstood the purpose of the program.

“Some of the communications you received from StaySafe, as Ambassadors, made it clear that the general use of community groups was a key part of the Ambassador program. We apologize for this – it was our fault, not yours. Our program volunteers work so hard to keep you updated and provide you with information – it was an honest mistake on the part of volunteers who were not fully aware of the parameters of the program. “

Lisa Wise-Milestone, who runs a surveillance program at Regal Road Public School using tests from the Toronto Region Board of Trade, said she had not yet been told she was no longer undergoing of tests, but several of his peers had recently been said no.

“The parents in my group at my school are going to be disappointed when they hear – it’s the only extra thing we could do as parents, and they took her away from us,” she told CP24.

She said the distinction of excluding schools in favor of workplaces is absurd, given that school-aged children cannot yet be vaccinated and everyone can.

“We have a target population identified now, the under 12s, and yet they don’t give us any resources, the system is very broken. “

Her only alternative, carpooling with other parents to take the Communitech tests in Kitchener, has also disappeared.

Unvaccinated education workers and adult workers, regardless of their immunization status, in a number of commercial sectors remain eligible for asymptomatic COVID-19 rapid surveillance tests in the province.

Asymptomatic children have few free opportunities to be tested for COVID-19, unless they attend high school in one of Ontario’s 13 school boards or are identified as a contact with a previously identified case.

The NDP and opposition Liberals this week called on the Ford government to expand, not restrict access to rapid tests in schools.

Asked last week, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Kieran Moore urged parents not to ‘go ahead’ with the government and put in place COVID-19 surveillance testing programs in schools , and several local school boards have distanced themselves from the initiatives.

Ontario’s state-funded school boards reported 170 new school-related COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including 159 cases among students and 11 among staff.

CP24 has identified at least five of these parent-run COVID-19 rapid surveillance testing programs operating in the province since last week, and dozens more are in development.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Alexandra Hilkene told CP24 that the rapid test programs the province put in place were only meant to support businesses and parents should not have received any tests through the program.

“This is a program designed with the specific purpose of protecting workers as businesses reopen and stay open safely. No additional restrictions have been placed on this program. Rather, we expect agencies to adhere to program parameters as with any government program. “

She said the government was working on a testing program to target schools in areas where community spread is above average.

“As Dr Moore has said many times, generalized asymptomatic surveillance testing in schools is not recommended because it is not an effective tool. Rather, it should be used in specific regions where the COVID rate is higher, which is exactly what the government is working on. “

Public Health Ontario (PHO) also weighed in earlier this month, with a record of evidence indicating that asymptomatic home surveillance tests would add “uncertain” safety benefits for schools outside of times of high community transmission.

But the same document cited major successes with regular surveillance testing in several US states and European countries, saying it demonstrated a reduced incidence of cases in school-aged children.

SPO also warned that implementing surveillance testing in all public schools would be expensive and time consuming.

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said on Wednesday that rapid antigen testing would create important peace of mind for parents.

“We ran into difficulties at my daughter’s school and at my nephew’s school here in Vaughan,” he said.

“I really believe that the availability of rapid tests would help keep our children, education workers and families safe, but it would also have gone a long way in providing peace of mind for moms and dads.”


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