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Ontario announces 'targeted' COVID-19 rapid testing program for schools | FULL

CA, 05 Oct 2021
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announced Tuesday that the province was rolling out a "targeted" COVID-19 rapid antigen testing program in schools and childcare spaces.

He said it would be for unvaccinated, asymptomatic students and children and would be up to local medical officers to determine if tests should be made available. He said it was not recommended fully vaccinated individuals take a rapid test due to the effectiveness of the vaccine and "the risks posed by the disruption of learning as the result of false positive tests."

Moore also discussed the various factors a local medical officer can use to determine whether to roll out rapid testing to schools and childcare spaces. He said this includes the level of COVID-19 activity in the surrounding community or in response to an increase of cases or outbreaks.

The announcement comes after groups of parents had organized surveillance testing for their schools using the rapid test kits, but the government told agencies to stop distributing them to anyone but businesses.

Asked about Thanksgiving holidays and how Ontarians can spend it with family, Moore said that more recommendations on how to spend Thanksgiving will be coming later this week, but said if having family over who are completely vaccinated you can remove your masks if comfortable. He added the social gathering rules of 100 outdoors and 25 indoors should still be adhered to.

Ontario reported 429 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 589,041. Of the cases, 233 were in unvaccinated people, 128 were fully vaccinated and 27 were partially vaccinated. There were 41 people whose vaccination status was unknown.

The province also reported 277 people in general hospital wards, with 155 patients in intensive care. A total of 101 people in ICUs were on a ventilator. For those in general wards, 101 were unvaccinated, eight were partially vaccinated and 41 were fully vaccinated. In ICUs, 75 were unvaccinated, while eight were partially vaccinated and eight were fully vaccinated.

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