To prioritize those who are at the greatest risk of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health updated its provincial testing guidance on December 30, 2021. The new eligibility criteria preserves testing capacity for those at highest risk of contracting COVID-19.
Those who are not eligible for testing will be turned away at local assessment centres, making it imperative that both individuals and employers understand who is eligible and not seek testing for themselves or their employees if they are not eligible.
According to the provincial guidance, any individual with symptoms of COVID-19 can presume they are infected with COVID-19 and should initiate timely self-isolation to prevent transmission in the community and follow these steps.
The latest testing criteria indicates that those considered to be at highest risk, and who can therefore seek testing at an assessment centre, include:
- those with symptoms who are patient-facing healthcare workers;
- those with symptoms who are patients in hospital or in the emergency room, at the discretion of the clinician;
- those with symptoms who are staff, residents, essential care providers, and visitors in hospitals and congregate-living settings, including long-term care, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings, and correctional institutions;
- those with or without symptoms who are people who are from First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities and individuals travelling into these communities for work;
- those with symptoms who are individuals 70-plus years of age with a risk factor (such as obesity, diabetes or kidney disease); and
- those with symptoms who are underhoused or homeless individuals.
High-risk contacts and/or individuals that are part of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in high-risk settings, as recommended by public health, can also be tested with or without symptoms.
Otherwise, testing for asymptomatic contacts of cases is no longer recommended.
The new provincial guidance also states that positive rapid antigen tests no longer require PCR confirmation at an assessment centre.
More information is available here.
The Huntsville assessment centre, operated in partnership with the Town of Huntsville, local physicians and the Algonquin Family Health Team, is located at the Active Living Centre (at the back of the Canada Summit Centre, 20 Park Drive). Testing is available for eligible individuals only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon by walk-in only.
The Bracebridge assessment centre, operated by Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC), is located adjacent to the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital helipad (75 Anne Street). Testing is available for eligible individuals by appointment only, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To book an appointment call 1-888-383-7009.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!