The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is expanding the criteria for who can get tested for COVID-19. Testing was previously limited to certain groups identified as priority groups by the Ontario government. However, with the re-opening of some businesses and activities in the community, as well as increased capacity and access to supplies, the EOHU is opening up testing to anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms.
“Increased testing will be an important tool as we’re starting to open up activities in the community,” explains Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “It’s going to help us determine if there is an increase in COVID-19 cases, or if we’re able to keep numbers down. This will help inform how we proceed with opening up in the weeks and months ahead.” He adds that it will also help with containing the spread of COVID-19 as it will give a better picture of where new cases are emerging, so that public health can follow up quickly.
The EOHU, in collaboration with a number of 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. Note that on Monday, May 18th the Rockland, Winchester and Akwesasne assessment centres will be closed for the Victoria Day holiday. All other assessment centres will remain open.
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.
“Although we’re seeing a gradual re-opening of places and activities, I’m still urging everyone 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 and that healthcare professionals can focus their efforts on those who need it most.”
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.
- 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.
For more information about COVID-19, please consult EOHU.ca/coronavirus and Ontario’s website at Ontario.ca/coronavirus.