Rapid Testing to Support COVID-19 Response

Published on November 26, 2020

The Ontario government has deployed new COVID-19 rapid tests to provide faster results in regions of high transmission and rural and remote areas.

As an additional tool to help keep essential workers safe, rapid tests will also be used to screen staff and visitors in select long-term care homes and select workplaces.

As part of the partnership with the federal government, Ontario has received 98,000 ID NOW and 1.2 million Panbio tests and is expecting to receive up to 1.5 million more Panbio tests by the end of December.

ID NOW tests that are initially being used in hospitals and assessment centres in rural and remote communities, as well as to test people as part of early outbreak investigations in hot spot regions where there are high concentrations of COVID-19 cases.

Two hospitals are using ID NOW to test those who are either symptomatic or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, with 20 additional hospitals preparing to launch rapid testing.

Panbio tests will also be used in a broader eight-week pilot for participating employers in the private, public and non-profit sectors, prioritizing access for health care settings, essential frontline settings, and congregate settings.

This pilot program is an important opportunity to learn about the value of antigen screening for asymptomatic workers in a range of workplace settings and will inform future decisions about safely and fully re-opening the economy.

To date, Panbio tests have been deployed to six long-term care operators for potential deployment in over 30 homes, 27 retirement homes, eight hospitals, and 11 industry partners such as Ontario Power Generation, Air Canada and Magna, with plans to expand further across province.

The government is deploying these new tests as quickly as possible to protect patients, long-term care residents, and the frontline heroes who care for them.

These new tools will ensure that Ontario remains the leader in testing in Canada to help stop the spread of this deadly virus.

The government is continuously working to expand our testing capacity and evaluate new and emerging technologies to provide safe testing options for a greater number of people.

The province continues to ensure that anyone who needs a test can get a test and receive their results as quickly as possible.

The launch of rapid testing is part of the province’s fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, to enhance and expand efforts to quickly test and identify new cases of COVID-19.

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