Rapid COVID-19 tests heading to schools in COVID-19 hotspot areas

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Ontario will introduce rapid testing in schools, but only in communities where COVID-19 transmission is high.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Keiran Moore, made the announcement this morning.

The testing, where results area available in minutes, will only be unvaccinated children and students in schools and licensed child care settings when local medical officers of health think there is a need for it.

“We are all in agreement schools should be the first to open and the last to close, this is an extra tool to keep our children in the classroom,” says Moore.

Moore says this will help identify and prevent transmission in schools and licensed child care settings and hopes it will reduce the number of COVID-19 cases. Moore added a person with the Delta variant – which is more contagious than the original COVID-19 virus – can infect up to seven people so testing could help reduce that number.

Moore says routine rapid antigen screening of fully vaccinated student is not currently recommended because the COVID-19 vaccines are effective and false positives could “disrupt learning.”

Lambton could be in line for this type of testing. Lambton is currently one of the regions with the highest rates of COVID-19. Yesterday, statisticians said the county had 73 people with COVID-19 for every 100,000 people. That’s the third highest in the province. It also has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the province, with 77 per cent fully vaccinated.