Access to rapid COVID-19 tests adds ‘layer of protection’ to children, doctor says

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Planning is underway by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health to take advantage of the new rapid targeted screening of children in high-risk settings offered by the province.

Ontario chief medical officer Dr Kieran Moore announced Tuesday morning that some registered schools and daycares may access testing under certain circumstances.

In a statement, Public Health said it would participate in the program.

“I am pleased to see the province adding this layer of protection,” said Dr Nicola Mercer, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health medical officer, in a statement.

“This program adds another local tool to fight this pandemic in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph. Locally, we will use the best health data available to ensure that these tests are used as effectively as possible to protect children most at risk from COVID-19. . “

A Waterloo region public health spokesperson told CBC KW his department will work with local schools and daycares to prepare for rapid tests in the area.

“These would be determined on the basis of local epidemiology and data from an equity perspective,” the statement said, adding that further details will be available in the coming days.

“This extra layer of screening may be appropriate when there are higher rates of COVID-19, lower vaccination rates and a history of epidemics at school or in the community,” he said. declared.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health did not report any new cases of COVID-19 during Tuesday’s dashboard update. There were 64 active cases.

There have been three outbreaks in schools and daycares:

  • School-wide outbreak at Saint-René-Goupil Elementary Catholic School in Guelph with 19 cases, 18 in students, one in a staff member.
  • June Avenue Public School in Guelph with four student cases.
  • Childcare Little Angles Development in Wellington County with three cases in children, one on staff.

How rapid tests will work

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health said details were still being finalized, but they are expected to use local data to decide which schools and daycares get the rapid test kits.

Other first details include:

  • The kits and education on how to use them will be provided to schools through school boards and to daycares through their facilities management.
  • Parents will have the choice of whether or not to use the test kits.
  • If a child tests positive, they will need to have a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test in the lab at a local assessment center. If it is negative, then the student can continue their learning in person.
  • In addition, rapid antigenic tests will only be used for students and unvaccinated and asymptomatic children who are not high risk contacts. Anyone with symptoms, including children, or high-risk contacts should have a laboratory PCR test at an assessment center.

The move comes a week after the province cracked down on a Waterloo region-based program called Stay Safe, which offered rapid test kits for community ambassadors to use at their own discretion. Several parents had signed up for the program, but the province reminded those who run the Stay Safe program that it is only for businesses.


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