The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is expanding COVID-19 testing to all members of the public, including individuals without symptoms. Testing was previously limited to individuals with symptoms, but with the re-opening of certain sectors of the economy, as well as increased capacity and access to supplies, the EOHU has opened up testing to everyone in line with the provincial direction.
“Increased testing will allow us to see if the number of COVID-19 cases is really going down, and if we can pursue opening up different sectors of the economy,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “Expanding testing to the general public, regardless of symptoms, will help public health better understand the situation in communities across the region, and in particular the proportion of people who have asymptomatic infection.”
Dr. Roumeliotis is also reminding the public that a negative test doesn’t mean they’re all clear, since they may still be exposed to the virus later on. “The key is therefore to monitor your health regularly and get tested again if you notice the onset of any symptoms or think you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19,” explains Dr. Roumeliotis. For a list of COVID-19 symptoms, visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus.
The EOHU, in collaboration with local healthcare partners, is offering COVID-19 testing at 5 assessment centres in the region. A mobile testing clinic is also available in Akwesasne for residents of that area. Locations, hours and other details are available on the EOHU’s website at www.EOHU.ca.
Important to continue taking precautions
The EOHU is reminding residents that precautionary measures remain essential for protecting the general public, including the most vulnerable, like seniors and people with pre-existing health conditions.
“I’m still urging everyone to take precautions and to limit non-essential outings,” states Dr. Roumeliotis. “Besides protecting your family, it will help ensure that we don’t experience a spike in cases that would force us to slow down the gradual re-opening of the economy.”
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the EOHU recommends that you:
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Limit non-essential outings, and when you do go out, stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.
- Wear a non-medical face mask when physical distancing is not possible during outings.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand.
- If you’re not feeling well, stay at home unless you need to seek medical care or to be tested for COVID-19.