Ontario’s new testing strategy highlights complexities of 2nd wave, experts say

Medical experts say an abrupt shift in Ontario’s testing strategy highlights the complexities of responding to a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Doug Ford’s government announced today that assessment centres would revert back to testing only symptomatic individuals, those who’ve come into contact with a case and those who work in high-risk settings.

Testing for asymptomatic residents is available at up to 60 pharmacies by appointment starting on Friday.

Read more: Low-risk, asymptomatic people should not get COVID-19 tests: Ontario health officials

The move marks a sharp reversal from the message the government touted for months that anyone could obtain a test if they wanted one, regardless of their symptoms or possible exposure level.

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Doctors shaping Ontario’s pandemic response say the shift is necessary to preserve the province’s testing capacity, which has been severely strained in recent weeks as case numbers climb.

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Some epidemiologists say the change makes sense and is based on sound science, while others argue it represents the latest in a long line of failed efforts to curb COVID-19 in the province.

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