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Province Expands COVID-19 Testing to Include People who are Asymptomatic

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Joseph Brant Hospital photo.

This weekend, the Province announced it was expanding COVID-19 testing across Ontario to include people who are asymptomatic.

Premier Ford also encouraged individuals to attend assessment centres for testing whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms or if they are concerned that they may have been exposed.

The Province remains responsible for testing directives and guidance, processing lab tests and online test results.

In the Region of Halton, the Assessment Centres are operated by and located at our four hospitals.

Burlington residents can call 905-632-3737, ext. 6550 to book an appointment for a test at Joseph Brant Hospital’s COVID-19 Assessment Clinic.

Residents of Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills are asked to call 905-203-7963 to book an appointment at a Halton Healthcare Assessment Centre.

Ontario Health president and CEO Matthew Anderson advised COVID-19 Assessment Centre leaders of the change in direction to test anyone who is:

  • Symptomatic;
  • Asymptomatic, but concerned about exposure to known or potential cases; and/or
  • Asymptomatic and have risk from exposure in line of duty (essential workers, health care workers, etc.).

The intention of the the change, according to Ontario Health, is to support and monitor more actively our essential workers as well as anyone who is worried that they have been exposed or have contracted COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms.

Ontario Health also notes that most transmissions occur in a home-based setting, so expansion to asymptomatic individuals may help us detect any further disease spread and most importantly, help as the economy is reopened.

Assessment Centres are being advised not to turn anyone away. Also, people no longer need to be referred to an assessment centre by Telehealth Ontario, Primary Care, or Public Health.

The Ministry of Health will soon be listing all of the assessment centres on the www.ontario.ca website, with addresses, etc., so the public can find assessment centres easily. It will also be starting a public education campaign very shortly that will encourage essential workers, as well as anyone who is worried that they have COVID-19 (even if they don’t have symptoms) to be tested.

Today, Oakville Town Council will be considering a resolution at their meeting regarding the announcement to increase COVID-19 testing, and asking the Province to provide financial support for local public health units, adequate resources for testing and contact tracing, testing targets and benchmarks.

MY TAKE:

I support the changes announced by the Premier Ford and the Province to increase testing. We know increased testing capacity is critical as the provincial government moves to allow more businesses and facilities to open. Testing is especially critical among people who may not yet be experiencing symptoms, as these may take one to two weeks to appear, in which time, individuals may be at risk of infecting others. Enhanced testing is one of the key criteria in any reopening strategy, alongside contact tracing, hospital capacity, and sustained reduction in new infections.

— Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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