Ontario Independent

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Residents in Ontario are waiting days for a COVID-19 test

The COVID-19 test is taking days to arrive in Ontario.

Key takeaways:

  • Ontarians queued for hours in the hopes of receiving their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while others faced a similar challenge in obtaining a COVID-19 test.
  • Multiple health units across Ontario appear to be affected by the lag, with Toronto, Hamilton, London, and Ottawa reporting difficulties.

While some Ontarians waited in line for hours in the hopes of receiving their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, others faced a similar challenge in getting a COVID-19 test, with some residents reporting waiting up to five days for an appointment.

Despite being symptomatic or potentially exposed to the virus through close contact, multiple people have confirmed to CTV News Toronto that they have not scheduled a COVID-19 test in Ontario on time.

While some people stated they could get a COVID-19 test within 24 hours after a thorough search, others said it took two to five days after checking assessment centers, hospitals, and pharmacies.

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“Last Wednesday afternoon, I went to schedule a test. On Twitter, someone said, “The first available rapid tests I could find nearby were Friday afternoon, and the first available PCRs were Saturday morning.” “It could have been a lot worse, but there was nothing within 24 hours.”

“I spent two days trying to get tested after the Region of Peel and (Peel District School Board) told me I needed to get tested right away. Another wrote, “The earliest I could book was December 24.”

Multiple health units across Ontario appear to be affected by the lag, with Toronto, Hamilton, London, and Ottawa reporting difficulties.

Because they couldn’t get an appointment, at least one person said on social media that they had to schedule a test in a neighboring county.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Zain Chagla of McMaster University told CTV News Toronto on Monday that as the number of COVID-19 infections rises, more people will need to be tested.

“Our first test in the city, as far as I can tell, is on Friday, December 24 at 8:20 p.m… “So that’s not great for someone who is experiencing symptoms today and can’t get a test,” he said. “A single case generates 30 contacts, so a large number of them will need to be tested.” Because we’re in the winter, kids are symptomatic of other illnesses, adults are symptomatic of other illnesses, and there’s just a lot of COVID in our community.”

“It’s tricky, and health-care resources are stretched between basic health care, the vaccine effort, and trying to deal with testing, but there’s only so much health-care to go around,” she says.

The COVID-19 test is taking days to arrive in Ontario.
The COVID-19 test is taking days to arrive in Ontario. Image from CTV News

THE CASE COUNT IN ONTARIO COULD REACH 20,000.

According to Ontario’s COVID Science Advisory Table, the new Omicron variant’s high transmissibility, which has a doubling time of about 2.7 days, makes case and contact management more difficult, especially when a diagnosis can’t be confirmed without a test.

“You probably have gone through two or three generations of this virus if you can’t get a test within five days and a day or two for a result,” he said.

Testing delays, according to Chagla, make determining the true impact of COVID-19 on a community more difficult, resulting in a significant disparity between the number of daily COVID-19 cases reported to the public and real-time data.

“Considering the level of disease and people’s inability to access testing, our numbers right now, even though they’re 3,000 to 4,000, are probably 15,000 to 20,000,” she says.

Ontario has reported more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases for the fourth day in a row, increasing the province’s seven-day average of daily infections. That number was 2,863 as of Monday, up from 1,328 at the same time last week.

With just over 44,100 COVID-19 tests processed in 24 hours, the province’s positivity rate has risen dramatically, reaching about 9.7%.

“It’s troubling,” Chagla said, “because we probably do need to have serious discussions about who we test and who needs to just stay at home or have a rapid test or something along those lines.” “It’s difficult because this will be our situation.” 

The case count is only going up, and we’re probably going to have weeks of this situation where testing won’t be able to keep up with everyone in the community who is symptomatic and all of their contacts.”

People who cannot afford to take a full week off work while waiting for their COVID-19 test and then waiting for the results face additional challenges, according to Chagla. Because they can’t make an appointment, many of these people may end up in a vulnerable sector or continue to move around the city.

Source: CP24 News

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