Opening Up COVID-19 Testing - Protecting Ontarians Through Enhanced Testing

Published on May 29, 2020

As the province carefully and gradually reopens the economy, the government is implementing the next phase of its COVID-19 testing strategy to detect and quickly contain the spread of the virus.  This includes three branches of testing: assessment centre testing, targeted campaigns and outbreak management.

Assessment Centre Testing:

  • Ontario is expanding who gets tested to include asymptomatic individuals concerned about exposure and continued routine symptomatic testing at assessment centres.
  • People will no longer need a referral to go to any of the more than 130 assessment centres across Ontario.
  • Information about the assessment centres is now easily accessible by clicking here..

Targeted Campaigns - Surveillance Testing and Monitoring: 

  • Ontario will expand proactive surveillance testing to detect outbreaks and more actively monitor any spread among our most vulnerable populations in hospitals, long-term care homes, group homes, shelters, emergency child care centres and other shared living spaces.
  • This will include testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic frontline staff in long-term care and retirement homes, as well as working with higher-risk sectors, including first responders, essential workers and other workplaces as the economy gradually reopens.
  • Further proactive surveillance testing will also be conducted in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
  • Private-sector workplace testing will leverage private and public resources. The government is working with private-sector employers to develop the appropriate models for each sector and workplace.

Outbreak Management:

  • Ontario is also developing agile testing resources, such as mobile testing teams, that can be rapidly deployed to a specific neighbourhood, region, institution or workplace if there is an outbreak.

Ontario now has the most open and robust testing criteria in the entire country. Anyone who feels they need a test will be able to get a test.  The government's newly expanded testing strategy is the best defence against stopping the spread of COVID-19 as the province gradually and safely reopens the province.  More proactive testing will give employers and their employees confidence as they return to work and fortify our alert system for any potential surge in new cases.

It’s important to continue to practise physical distancing, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, and washing your hands regularly. These simple actions will help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Case Management and Contact Tracing:

  • Ontario will also soon release a renewed strategy to support public health units with case management and contact tracing.
  • This includes launching a new exposure notification app that will alert Ontarians when they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and would recommend appropriate actions, such as monitoring for symptoms, self-isolation and/or appropriate next steps on getting tested.

For additional information, please click here.