Ontario Science Table Recommends Weekly Rapid COVID Tests in Schools and Workplaces in Some Areas | The Canadian News

TORONTO – Ontario’s COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group recommends health officials implement voluntary rapid tests in settings such as schools and workplaces in areas that reach a certain level of infection.

The Scientific Advisory Board is advising public health units or neighborhoods where new COVID-19 cases are approaching 50 per million people per day, and where there is sustained exponential growth, to conduct a weekly voluntary screening of people. not vaccinated or partially vaccinated in elementary schools.

He says health officials in those areas could also implement rapid antigen tests in workplaces and congregation settings.

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The scientific table says that if the daily new cases of a unit or health area approach 250 per million people per day, “it is likely that weekly tests are not frequent enough to reduce the spread effectively.”

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The group says that in that case, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people should undergo rapid tests two to three times a week.

It points out that public health units in this situation may also want to study voluntary testing of fully vaccinated people with the same frequency.

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The science chart says that it considers rapid tests in elementary schools a priority, as students under the age of 12 are not yet fully vaccinated in the province.

But he adds that Ontario could use rapid tests in “many ways” to slow the spread of the virus.

The latest tip from the group comes as requests for broader quick tests surge ahead of the holiday season.

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Some workplaces in the province offer rapid tests for their employees, and the government has said that children in publicly funded schools will receive five tests to take home during the December holidays.

The tests, which provide results in about 15 minutes, are also available for a fee at pharmacies for travel or other asymptomatic purposes.

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Critics have argued that making the tests more available and free for all to use would help prevent a surge in infections, particularly during the December holidays.

A spokeswoman for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Thursday that the province had distributed more than 34 million rapid tests as of Monday and deploys more than a million in workplaces, hospitals and other congregational settings each week. .

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