ONTARIO: Chief medical officer issues new COVID-19 testing guidelines

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Elliott says they've had thousands of people reach out already.

"Ontario in my opinion is making decisions in the dark and making decisions based upon what they don't know".

Symptomatic residents are still included in testing guidelines, but Williams is also now specifying that atypical symptoms should be considered, including unexplained fatigue, delirium, falls, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills and headaches.

The reason for the shortfall appears to be that Ontario continues to restrict who gets tested by recommending against testing people who have not recently travelled internationally, even if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

Toronto Public Health said Wednesday that at least 16 residents had died due to COVID-19 in Seven Oaks long-term care home, with another 45 confirmed and 56 probable cases among the 249 residents.

"If we can identify more of the cases that are in the community it will help give us a better idea of what's going on".

"My patience has run thin and no more excuses", Ford said Wednesday, adding he wants to see 13,000 tests a day instead of the roughly 3,200 now being conducted.

Ontario at first didn't have enough assessment centres, then there were not enough labs to process the tests, then the supplies of reagent - key chemicals needed for testing - were low.

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"The capacity issue isn't what it was - they should be testing", Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, said of guidelines that restrict tests, even for some who display COVID-19 symptoms.

There are 58 outbreaks declared at long-term care homes in Ontario; yesterday there were 51. "We don't want to go overboard and end up with another backlog".

Ontario reported 483 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday and 26 more deaths, bringing the provincial total to 5,759 cases.

According to the provincial agency, there are 605 patients now hospitalized for COVID-19.

"We have developed a strategy in order to be able to increase that testing there", she told a news conference Tuesday.

Williams cautioned that testing too widely would produce "biased" data that skew too heavily towards negative results when the goal is to reflect the population-at-large. But once it's clear the peak of infections has passed, the country can hopefully move into a phase of widespread testing and contact-tracing to try to keep the pandemic contained, he said.

"We can't waste anymore time getting help".

"Our goal at the end of the day is test every single front-line health-care worker, all workers, being nurses, doctors, (personal support workers), cleaners", he said.

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