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COVID-19 testing expanding in Hamilton

HAMILTON, ON – In keeping with the Covid-19 Provincial Testing Guidance Update issued on April 8, the criteria for testing now includes the following:

  • Symptomatic health care workers (regardless of care delivery setting) and staff who work in health care facilities and long-term care homes (these healthcare workers should follow their organization’s internal processes for screening and testing).
  • Symptomatic First Responders
  • All symptomatic patients with contact with a confirmed case or contact with an individual who have been sent for testing  
  • All symptomatic community/ambulatory patients with:
    • Medical co-morbidities OR
    • Working in an essential industry
  • Symptomatic children attending essential day care
  • Symptomatic household members or family care givers living with/providing care to those with medical co-morbidities

Medical comorbidities include heart disease, chronic lung disease, renal disease, and immune compromise.

Significant symptoms include new cough, fever, shortness of breath (even when not active), change in taste and smell, loss of smell or taste, new onset muscle aches and fatigue. People may also report unexplained or significant headache, sore throat, runny nose or diarrhea. Symptoms in young children may include lethargy and/or decreased feeding.

The process for determining who should be tested remains the same. A referral from your doctor or Hamilton Public Health Services is required for screening and an appointment at an Assessment Centre. Hamilton’s two assessment centres are ready and equipped with sufficient supplies to test more people for the virus. 

Increased testing is an important initiative to help in the management of COVID-19 in our community. It is important to note, testing, does not lead to treatment.  Everyone is encouraged to continue following public health recommendations around physical distancing and frequent handwashing.

Planning is underway for the next phase of testing which will include drive through testing. Details will be shared as they become available. There have been 2,323 visits to Hamilton’s Assessment Centres and 1,780 COVID-19 tests completed since opening on March 16, 2020.

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