Province reducing testing in Ottawa, Eastern Ontario as cases and demand spike, memo says

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This newspaper reached out to The Ottawa Hospital, which operates some testing centres in the city; Ottawa Public Health, which is in charge of contact tracing and COVID-19 response; and the Ministry of Health for comment and was redirected to Ontario Health. The provincial health agency had yet to respond by Monday evening.

According to a source in the health system, the directive means some testing sites in Ottawa are being capped at 68 per cent of the daily tests they performed last week after testing was limited to people with symptoms, directed by public health or in need of a test to visit long-term care.

Plans to extend hours at the Moodie Drive assessment centre have also been put on hold, this newspaper has learned. The centre, which is currently open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday had been planning to extend hours beginning Oct. 1.

“The province has made it clear that, until the lab system is able to adequately increase capacity, there needs to be a pause on any additional capacity added to testing; with temporary reductions needed for some areas,” Tooley wrote.

Estimates of daily testing being done at assessment centres, long-term care homes and in the community in Ontario East, compared to lab capacity “indicates a need to reduce overall swabs by approximately 1,215 a day.”

Reduced testing targets were being sent to individual assessment centres to take effect “ASAP,” according to the memo sent Sunday.

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