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HomeNewsOntario Increases Access To COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Screening For Unvaccinated Students

Ontario Increases Access To COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Screening For Unvaccinated Students

KAWARTHA LAKES-Ontario is increasing access to local targeted COVID-19 rapid antigen screening by making it available for students through participating public health units where risk of transmission is high.

As of Monday October fourth, 2021, there were zero cases in schools within the Trillium Lakelands District School Board which includes local schools.

Find the data here:https://www.tldsb.ca/covid19-advisory/

There are four active cases of Coronavirus in the City of Kawartha Lakes at this time.

The program will support access to voluntary, rapid asymptomatic screening for unvaccinated children and students. Officials say this will help identify and prevent transmission in schools and licensed child care settings, as identified by local medical officers of health based on local epidemiological circumstances.

Routine rapid antigen screening of fully vaccinated individuals and children is not currently recommended given the the risks posed to the disruption of learning as a result of false positives according to public health.

“By improving ventilation in Ontario schools and taking further action through the introduction of a targeted rapid antigen screening program, we are helping to keep schools safer and open,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “We are following updated advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health by introducing a targeted testing program, at the direction of local medical officers of health, in areas where rates of transmission are high. Ontario’s plan is focused on minimizing disruption and maximizing safe, in-class learning, supported by major improvements in mechanical ventilation and 70,000 HEPA and other ventilation devices in learning spaces.”

Officials say limiting the spread of COVID-19 is critical to ensuring that schools and child care centres remain safe and open to support working families.

“Targeted asymptomatic screening has the potential to detect cases in schools earlier and reduce the risk of outbreaks and closures, particularly in communities across the province that have a high prevalence of active COVID-19 cases,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Expanding access to rapid antigen screening may be another way to help keep schools safer and students in the classroom. I continue to encourage everyone who has yet to get their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination to do so as soon as you can to increase our level of community immunity and protect our students and young Ontarians who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.”

COVID-19 rapid antigen screening for child care and school-age children will proceed as follows:

  • Based on the guidance of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local Medical Officers of Health will continue to monitor local COVID-19 transmission and vaccination rates to identify when to implement rapid antigen screening in parts of their region based on local factors and needs.
  • Rapid antigen screening will be used only for unvaccinated asymptomatic students and children who are not high-risk contacts. Symptomatic or high-risk contacts should continue to access lab-based PCR testing available at assessment centres and other collection centres.
  • Where the local public health unit has identified schools or child care centres that would benefit from this screening, rapid antigen screening tests will be made available. Parents will be able to choose if their unvaccinated asymptomatic children will participate in this screening offered by their schools or licensed child care settings.
  • Unvaccinated children participating in the program will be able to conduct the rapid antigen screening at home with instructions.
  • Children who receive a positive result will be required to seek a confirmatory lab-based PCR test at a local assessment centre or specimen collection centre and isolate until the result of that lab-based PCR test is known. Children who receive a negative result on a rapid antigen screening test will be able to continue in-person learning. More detailed information including duration and frequency will follow.

 

 

 

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Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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