Ontario Independent

Saturday, December 9, 2023

COVID-19 PCR testing and treatment are being expanded in Ontario

COVID-19 testing and therapies are being expanded in Ontario.

Key Takeaways:

  • Antiviral medications and COVID-19 PCR testing are becoming more widely available in Ontario.
  • According to the province, antiviral medication should be started within 5 days of the onset of symptoms in most cases.
  • During his first news conference in a month, Moore emphasized the importance of vaccinations.

As the province grapples with an upsurge in infections and hospitalizations, the Ontario government makes antiviral medicines and PCR testing for COVID-19 more readily available.

High-risk persons who are impaired and at greater risk of severe side effects after contracting COVID-19 are included in the revised eligibility announced on Monday.

PCR testing, as well as assessment for antiviral medicines like Paxlovid, are currently available for the following groups:

  • Immunocompromised adults and children aged 18 and up.
  • Individuals in their seventies and eighties.
  • Individuals over the age of 60 have had fewer than 3 vaccine doses.
  • Individuals aged 18 and above who have had fewer than three vaccination doses and have at least one risk factor.

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To see if they are qualified for the treatment, people can take an online examination.

The province will allow chosen pharmacies to distribute Paxlovid treatments with a prescription later this week. At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, a complete list of participating pharmacies will be accessible here.

According to the province, in most cases, antiviral treatment must start within 5 days of the onset of symptoms. Three pills, twice a day, for 5 days in a row is a full course of treatment.

As a result, persons in a higher risk group who have symptoms should seek testing and treatment from their healthcare practitioner or a health assessment center as soon as possible.

“Antiviral medication, including the oral antiviral Paxlovid, can prevent hospitalizations, protect hospital capacity, and safeguard patients at high risk of catastrophic health consequences,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, at a press conference on Monday. “Talk to your primary care provider ahead of time, even if you don’t have symptoms, to see if the treatment is right for you if you get sick and have a plan.”

COVID-19 testing and therapies are being expanded in Ontario.
COVID-19 testing and therapies are being expanded in Ontario. Image from CP24

“Even if a patient does not fall into one of the high-risk groups, healthcare practitioners can assess if an antiviral medication is suitable for them based on their unique circumstances.”

According to officials, patients can also be evaluated for antiviral medication if they have a positive fast antigen test.

Paxlovid, an oral antiviral made by Pfizer and licensed by Health Canada earlier this year, is expected to be available throughout 2022, according to the province.

Before today’s announcement, the medicine was only offered to immunocompromised individuals, unvaccinated persons aged 60 and up, and unvaccinated people aged 50 and up who were Indigenous or had one or more risk factors.

Moore emphasized the necessity of being vaccinated during his first news conference in nearly a month. In Ontario, residents aged 60 and older are being asked to schedule their fourth doses 5 months after getting their third.

Moore also advises that people continue wearing masks as the pandemic enters its sixth wave in Ontario.

Source: CTV news

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