Assessment Centres throughout Simcoe Muskoka, including Alliston, have seen long lineups since the start of school. Many students with the sniffles or other symptoms aren’t allowed in class until they’re cleared with a negative COVID-19 test.
The Province has identified 17 symptoms related to COVID-19 that warrant sending a student home, but Health Minister Christine Elliot says this list could be shortened soon.
Simcoe Muskoka Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner said it’s important that the Province is careful about rolling back symptoms if they do, as it could create the potential to miss possible cases.
“You definitely want to be able to pick up all cases and avoid an exposure that way, you wouldn’t want students to be going back that are actually positive because we’re allowing a screening process that’s not stringent enough,” he noted.
“I think we need to definitely err on the side of picking up all potential cases.”
Testing at pharmacies is now available throughout Ontario but the only available site in Simcoe Muskoka right now is at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Huntsville.
With longer lineups at Assessment Centres, Dr. Gardner said it’s concerning that those who had exposure to a case, were part of an outbreak or have symptoms might have to wait long periods and might opt to avoid getting a test altogether due to the line ups. He said they need preferential access to testing with a faster turnaround.
“I think it’s most critical that they have access to testing without having to wait or be dissuaded, so that is a concern to me,” Dr. Gardner explained.