Many of our readers have been asking if and how testing for the novel coronavirus is being conducted in Muskoka.
Below are the answers to questions we posed to Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC), which manages both the Huntsville and Bracebridge hospitals. The answers were provided by Dr. John Simpson, director and chief of emergency medicine at MAHC.
Q: Is testing for the virus being conducted in Muskoka at all at this time?
A: Yes, as of March 18 MAHC has administered more than 40 tests. Some primary care providers may also be testing patients in their offices. The physician determines who to test for the virus following the directives from public health as they are updated day to day, in conjunction with their own clinical judgement. More importantly for people to understand is that a test does not change the treatment. There is no cure, and so treatment is to quarantine yourself and manage your symptoms. If your condition gets worse, contact your local health care provider or Telehealth for advice. If your symptoms are of an emergency nature, you should come to the Emergency Department.
Q: If not, how does one know if they’ve been in contact with a person confirmed with the virus in Muskoka if testing isn’t being conducted here?
A: Testing is occurring at both sites. Cases are reported by public health and we are aware of a web-based reporting resource from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit at http://www.simcoemuskokahealthstats.org/topics/infectious-diseases/a-h/covid-19
Q: Can you tell me what the test involves, and how long it would take to get results from the lab in Toronto?
A: The COVID-19 testing kit involves a nasopharyngeal swab. For inpatients, an additional swab is collected. Depending on volumes, it takes a few days for public health to get the results from the Public Health Laboratory of Ontario. The number of tests going to the lab is impacting turnaround times, and we understand additional lab testing facilities are being set up in the province. For any completed test, public health follows up directly with the patient.
For ongoing updates about the virus in the Huntsville area, check here regularly: How COVID-19 is impacting the Huntsville area: cases, cancellations, news, and commentary
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