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Ontario's COVID-19 testing levels could make way to second wave: expert

An epidemiologist says Ontario needs to start testing more groups to get a better handle on who is carrying COVID-19
covid testing car ontario
A healthcare worker prepares to collect a sample to test for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing site on March 20, 2020. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Wilfredo Lee

Ontario may be at risk to a second wave of COVID-19 if testing is not expanded.

Dr. Todd Coleman, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Wilfrid Laurier University says we're only seeing certain groups getting tested at the moment.

Those groups include people most vulnerable to the virus, like health care workers and residents in long-term care and retirement homes, people with pre-existing medical issues, and those with severe COVID-19 related symptoms, among others.

"A good approach to testing would be to do something like what has been done in other countries, who got an earlier understanding on the importance of testing," he tells The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS.

"(We should be) looking at other symptoms as well.  Looking at fever as sort of the baseline to see whether or not because that's one of the most commonly reported symptoms."

He says those with a fever could move on to the "more invasive" form of testing, which includes the briefly uncomfortable swab test up the nose and the back of someone's throat.

Dr. Coleman says those with mild symptoms, or are asymptomatic, should also be getting tested, adding it's problematic that Ontario isn't meeting their testing targets as it is.

"We don't have a proper handle on who has and doesn't have the disease," he said.

"We're opening up some of our businesses, meaning the probability of one infected person coming into contact and infecting someone who is not infected just becomes all that more likely."

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