COVID Testing Protocol Update

COVID Testing Protocol Update

Last week, because the government was facing a severe backlog in processing COVID-19 tests, and it looked like testing capacity would be overwhelmed, the provincial government made changes to the rules about who could get tested for COVID-19. As well, the government has decreed that there will no longer be drop in tests, instead moving to an appointment only model. This is being done to cut down on lines at testing centres, which were sometimes over 6 hours long.

With the series of changes, there has been understandable confusion. Here is the most up to date information for who can get tested, and where.

To find a testing location near you, click here.

Tests are now only for people who are showing symptoms, or in other special circumstances. Some common symptoms that would allow you to get tested include:

  • Fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher),
  • Chills,
  • Cough that’s new or worsening (continuous, more than usual),
  • Barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup),
  • Shortness of breath (out of breath, unable to breathe deeply),
  • Sore throat,
  • Difficulty swallowing,
  • Runny, stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions),
  • Lost sense of taste or smell,
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis),
  • Headache that’s unusual or long lasting,
  • Digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain),
  • Muscle aches,
  • Extreme tiredness that is unusual (fatigue, lack of energy),
  • Falling down often.

You can get also get tested if you are not showing symptoms and:

  • Toronto Public Health or the COVID Alert app notifies you that you have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus,
  • You live or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified by your local public health unit or,
  • You belong to a specific group outlined in guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health including:
    • residents, workers or visitors of long-term care homes,
    • residents or workers in homeless shelters or other congregate settings,
    • international students that have passed their 14-day quarantine period,
    • farm workers, and
    • Indigenous communities.

Call 911 if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, can only speak in single words),
  • Severe chest pain (constant tightness or crushing sensation),
  • Feeling confused or unsure of where you are, or
  • Losing consciousness.
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