Ontario has completed over 4 million coronavirus tests since the beginning of the pandemic.
“It’s clear from today’s milestone that we have the most robust, most comprehensive testing strategy in the entire country, and in fact, we have completed more tests than all the other provinces combined,” said Ford during a press conference on Tuesday.
“Having this critical capacity will ensure we are able to track, trace, and isolate the deadly invisible enemy we face through the second wave. Our tremendous progress is due to the tireless efforts of our heroic lab technicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other frontline staff.”
In partnership with Ontario Health, Public Health Ontario, local public health units, hospital and community laboratories, the government has developed a province-wide integrated laboratory system.
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At the start of the outbreak, Ontario was conducting around 4,000 tests per day.
On Tuesday, the province completed over 42,000 tests — the highest on record, with a goal to process 50,000 daily tests by mid-October and 68,000 daily tests by mid-November.
“Reaching four million tests in Ontario demonstrates clearly that we are a national leader in testing capacity, however there is much more work to be done.” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.
“That’s why, as part of our COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, our government is investing $1.07 billion to dramatically expand our testing capacity, launch more testing locations and add more case and contact management resources to trace and isolate new cases. We want to ensure that everyone who needs a test can get one quickly.”
In order to ensure more testing can be done, the province has expanded testing sites to 77 pharmacies across the province, who are testing asymptomatic individuals by appointment only. They have collected 5,800 samples since September 25.
Additional pharmacies will be offering testing in the coming weeks.
Assessment centres have also shifted to online booking and are no longer taking walk-ins.