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COVID-19 Testing in Grey Bruce Schools - Holiday Preparations

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COVID-19 Testing in Grey Bruce Schools - Holiday Preparations

 

The Government of Ontario will make available 11 million voluntary take-home rapid antigen-screening tests to all public schools ahead of the December break.

The recent initiative to provide voluntary take home asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for students can be beneficial in areas with high rates of cases. However, due to the low case counts in Grey and Bruce, at this time, the Grey Bruce Health Unit continues not to recommend asymptomatic testing.

We would like to remind the community, and emphasize that, our recommendations for testing remain unchanged. With the current epidemiology of COVID-19 in Grey Bruce, COVID-19 testing is only appropriate, and recommended, in the following scenarios:

  1. You have COVID-19 related symptoms
  2. Public Health has let you know that you are a Close Contact to someone who has COVID-19, based on a thorough risk assessment completed only by Public Health. Determining who is a close contact is a decision that can only be made by Public Health.

If you chose to participate in this voluntary asymptomatic testing strategy (which we do not suggest), please be aware of the risks and challenges related to these tests:

  • Rapid Antigen Tests are not very reliable in the absence of a high number of cases within the region
    • The accuracy of the tests are a challenge.  A negative test is not an indication of truly being negative, and a positive tests is not a guarantee of the test being positive
    • If the rapid test is positive, a PCR test is required at an assessment centre.
  • False reassurance.
    • Testing someone who has no symptoms only lets them know that on the day they were tested, they were not shedding the virus.  It is very possible to test negative one day (while incubating the virus), and then develop symptoms and test positive in a day or so. It is not a bulletproof way to say that you or your child is COVID-19 free.
  • Testing in people that have no symptoms can result in false positives.
    • A false positive may cause significant and unintended anxiety in families linked to the false positive. Self-isolation, inability to attend work, and fear/anxiety are real outcomes of a false positive. Below is a link to fully explain who should be tested and when.

For information on testing in general, please visit:.

For more information on COVID-19 in general, please visit the Grey Bruce Health Unit website at Grey Bruce Public Health Homepage (publichealthgreybruce.on.ca).

 

For More Information:

Dr. Ian Arra, MD MSc FRCPC ACPM ABPM

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

To arrange to speak with Dr. Arra, please contact: communications@publichealthgreybruce.on.ca

519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 ext. 3940

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