Ontario announces ‘targeted’ COVID-19 rapid test program in schools

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Ontario’s chief medical officer of health announced a new “targeted” COVID-19 rapid test program in schools and licensed child care settings.

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“The program will support access to voluntary, rapid asymptomatic screening for unvaccinated children and students,” Ford Gov.

Tests will be made available at the discretion of the local medical officer of health, based on “local epidemiological circumstances”. Parents will be able to choose whether their child can participate.


The rapid test will be used only for unvaccinated students with no symptoms who are not high-risk contacts of a case.

If a child receives a positive result, he or she will need a laboratory-based PCR test to confirm.

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For those testing positive, they will have to be confirmed through an assessment center or sample collection center and isolated till the results are received.

Students who test negative in the rapid test will be allowed to learn individually.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran said, “Targeted asymptomatic screening has the potential to detect cases earlier in schools and reduce the risk of outbreaks and closures, particularly in communities across the province where there is active COVID-19. There is a high prevalence of -19 cases.” Moore.

The announcement came after groups of parents conducted surveillance tests for their schools using rapid test kits, but the government told agencies to stop distributing them to anyone but businesses.

Moore has said widespread asymptomatic surveillance testing is not recommended in schools because it is not an effective tool.

“When you apply these tests in a low-risk setting you will find that you get more false positives than true positives and as a result you will send people for PCR tests and they will be out of school because they have to wait. There will be consequences,” he said.

As of Tuesday, government data showed that 796 of the province’s 4,844 schools had at least one COVID-19 case. Six schools are closed due to positive cases.

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Provincial data says that more than 81 percent of youth ages 12 to 17 have received their first dose of vaccine, while 73 percent have received their second.

Ontario’s Green Party leader Mike Schreiner said he was relieved, when the government announced a rapid testing program, that it should do more.

Schreiner pointed to the cancellation of free rapid testing available to school-aged students at pharmacies.

“Doug Ford needs to remove all stops so children can stay safe and schools can stay open,” he wrote in a statement on Tuesday.

With files from the Canadian Press

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