News

Federal funding to increase COVID-19 testing as long lines reported across Canada

Federal funding to increase COVID-19 testing as long lines reported across Canada
Top Stories
TORONTO -- As long lines are being reported at COVID-19 testing centres across the country,the federal government pledged billions in funding to address the issue and improve other pandemic measures.  

Under the$19-billion “Safe Restart Agreement” announced on Wednesday, the money will be used to increase COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, improve the capacity of provincial health care systems, and help with restarting essential services such as public transit, among several other benefits.

The announcement comes as testing centres across the country are reporting excessively long lines, due in part to the return of school classes. Federal public health officials told The Canadians Press on Tuesday that they saw a record demand at testing sites over the weekend, leading to some people being turned away.

Two testing sites in London, Ont. reached capacity on Tuesday, while a testing centre in Ottawa had wait times upwards of six hours. In Nova Scotia, the provincial NDP is calling for fast tracking of COVID-19 testing among students and teachers as parents have complained of unacceptable wait times for their children’s test results.

"Many people can t afford the time away from work and don t have the situation where they re able to self-isolate with their children while they wait for a test," NDP MLA Claudia Chender told CTV News Atlantic.

Meanwhile, new testing centres have recently opened in Edmonton, and Laval, Que. and another one is slated to open in Brampton, Ont. shortly.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto, believes the wait times stem from a combination of factors, including limited testing capacity and an increased desire from the population to receive a test.

“In a perfect world with unlimited resources, we would be able to test everybody and be able to test on a much broader scale with rapid turnaround time, but of course we don’t live in that perfect world, there are finite resources, so I think we have to use our finite resources in a smart manner,” he told CTV News Channel.

Bogoch suggests changing the messaging around testing to focus on people who are most at risk, those who are symptomatic and those who may have been exposed to the virus.

“If testing is really focused on those individuals and those individuals have prioritized, I think that might better use the rescources that we have available across the country,” he said.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford told reporters on Tuesday that his government is working on a plan to have pharmacies test asymptomatic people who want to be checked for COVID-19.

“I am not going to say that 100 per cent but I can tell you we are all over it,” Ford said. “Just stay tuned over the next day or two and we will have an announcement. I just don’t want to announce anything until all the ducks are in a row.”

Bogoch said Ford’s plan should lower wait times to receive a test and allow for more equitable access to testing in rural and more marginalized communities, but doesn’t address any delays when it comes to test results coming back.
Read more on CTVnews
News Topics :
RELATED STORIES :
Top Stories
TORONTO Some parents have been flocking to COVID 19 testing centres, looking to rule out the possibility their children are carrying the infection after reports of exposures happening...
Canada
The demand was so high at one drive through site in Kitchener that it had to shut down on Wednesday. Cars had lined up starting at 3 a.m. “The volume is...
Health
TORONTO Ontario s decision not to test asymptomatic people for COVID 19 infections is a policy that the province should consider changing and soon, a Toronto based infectious disease...
Top Stories
TORONTO The last time Ontario recorded more than 400 new COVID 19 cases in a single day, the entire province was still in Stage 1 of its reopening...
Top Stories
COVID 19 test centres across the city are reporting a spike in demand over the past two weeks, with reports of long lines, and some people even being turned away. The...