Only high-priority patients tested for COVID-19 in London
LONDON, ONT. -- The Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) says more than 100 people per day are now being tested for COVID-19 in this area, and that number will continue to grow.
MLHU Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Alex Summers says because testing is being conducted at London hospitals and at the two assessment centres, it’s impossible to say exactly how many tests are being conducted.
He says right now only those deemed to be high priority get the test.
“People who are admitted to hospital with respiratory symptoms, so the people who are really sick. So I think it’s really important for people to know, if you’re really sick, you’ll get a test for COVID so that we know how it is we need to treat you.”
Health care workers who have come into contact with someone who has the virus are also prioritized, he says, “Again because we need to make sure our health care workers are safe and can get back to work.”
Meantime, there’s a major backlog of test results.
Michelle Hoad, CEO of the Ontario Society of Medical Technologists, says specimens go to local labs - while 24 hours would be ideal, she said five to seven days for results is more realistic.
“But the great thing right now in Ontario, London’s got one lab that’s actually doing the testing with another lab that’s coming online very soon.”
Canada’s public health agency continued to stress on Tuesday that about half the positive cases in Canada now are from community-spread.
That means it’s no longer confined to returning travellers. You can contract the virus by visiting with friends or going out for groceries.
With the official tally of cases in London still relatively low, Summers says it’s important people do not get a false impression that the situation is not as serious what the numbers say.
“This is serious. People need to stay at home and stay safe, and stay at home to keep our community safe. I don’t want people to have a false impression that we are through this yet. We are not. We are at the beginning of this process and it’s very important that people take these social distancing measures seriously.”