#Ontario; #Covid19TestingTarget; #TestAsymptomaticPeople; #NewAssessmentCentres
Ottawa, May 24 (Canadian-Media): After Ontario missed the testing target for the seventh day in a row, and with Ontario reporting 461 new COVID-19 cases, on May 24, highest new case count since May 8, Ontario Premier Doug Ford made a public plea on Sunday, asking people to get tested even if they are asymptomatic, media reports said.
Doug Ford. Image credit: Twitter handle
Ford's message that symptomatic people can also get tested contradicts earlier guidelines Ministry of Health issued for the general public which said that only people displaying one or more symptoms of the novel coronavirus should be tested.
Ford said Ontario has opened 129 COVID-19 assessment centres and added mass testing is the province's best defence against the virus, and said the only way for the province to reach testing capacity is for people to go to provincial assessment centres.
The province was able to process only 11,383 tests on Saturday out of a 16,000 daily benchmark.
In a statement issued Sunday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath criticized the Ford government for a week of "abysmally low" COVID-19 testing numbers, and is calling for "systemic testing" of all asymptomatic people outside of assessment centres, saying the current method is "not enough."
The province now has a total of 25,500 cases, which includes 19,477 resolved cases and 2,073 deaths.
878 people remain in hospital with the virus with about 148 people in intensive care, 104 of whom are on a ventilator.
Starting Saturday, new testing regulations were issued with asymptomatic front-line health-care workers being tested across the province.
A new "detailed" testing strategy would soon be released by Ontario, said Ford, to target various sectors and COVID-19 hot spots across Ontario.