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Advocates, province address wait times for COVID-19 testing

Posted: October 2, 2020

(October 1, 2020)

By: Mike Aiken, Kenora Online

The province is looking at new ways to improve testing for the coronavirus.

With a second wave underway, testing and contact tracing has become even more important. Natalie Mehra of the Ontario health coalition says we should be seeing better turn-around times.

“We had a lull. We had a dip in the number of cases across Ontario. The government has had months to plan for the fall, when schools would be reopened,” she said.

The coalitionĀ represents more than 400 member organizations including seniors, patients, health care unions and associations, as well as non-profit community agencies.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP and provincial cabinet minister — Greg Rickford — agrees improvements are needed with testing and contact tracing, as we move into the second wave.

“Over the course of the pandemic, it was completely unacceptable at all points and times that our turn-arounds for testing were seven to nine days long,” he said yesterday.

The minister noted the province will be spending more thanĀ $1 billion dollars to improve lab capacity, in order to reduce wait times. It was part of a $2.8 billion announcement made by Premier Doug Ford yesterday.

The minister notes the province has provided more test kits in Dryden, as well as gargle tests — rather than nasal swabs — for children. In light of a spike in Winnipeg, Queen’s Park is revisiting the issue of testing in Kenora, as well as the use of rapid test kits.

For more information:

Ontario Health Coalition – COVID-19

Ontario Delivers $2.8 Billion COVID-19 Fall Preparedness Plan

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