Ontario unveils new COVID-19 testing guidelines

The province is changing its COVID-19 testing guidelines effective immediately.

In a news release, the government says it is shifting away from “untargeted asymptomatic testing” and prioritizing those who are at the greatest risk.

Under the new guidelines, here is who should get a COVID-19 test:

  • Anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms (see below for symptoms)
  • Anyone exposed to a confirmed case of the virus — informed by public health unit or through the COVID Alert app
  • Anyone who is a resident or works in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak
  • Anyone that’s eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care

This last point includes workers, residents and visitors of long-term care homes, workers and residents of homeless shelters and other congregate settings.

“Folks, I want to reassure you, no one who needs a test will be turned away,” said Premier Doug Ford.

The government says COVID-19 lab network has the capacity to process more than 40,000 tests daily.

This news comes as the province reported 409 new cases of COVID-19.

The government continues to encourage practicing physical distancing, wearing face masks and staying home when ill even with mild symptoms.

According to the province, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher)
  • chills
  • cough that’s new or worsening (continuous, more than usual)
  • barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing
  • shortness of breath (out of breath, unable to breathe deeply)
  • sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • runny, stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions)

More information here.