Ontario will no longer be taking walk-ins at COVID-19 assessment centres to help with the backlog of testing.
On Friday, Premier Doug Ford and top health officials said that starting on October 6, assessment centres will have an appointment-based testing, providing “certainty to patients as to when they can receive a test during the cold winter months and allowing assessment centres to conduct enhanced screening.”
This means that starting on Sunday, assessment centres will discontinue walk-in testing services so that the province’s lab network can make progress in processing tests, which are severely backlogged.
The province will continue mobile testing and pop-up testing centres to reach vulnerable populations and provide targeted testing for long-term care, congregate care, and other vulnerable populations.
And more pharmacies will be allowing testing for asymptomatic individuals.
Ontario is also taking longer-term actions to increase the province’s test processing capacity by increasing to 50,000 tests per day by mid-October and 68,000 tests per day by mid-November.
On Wednesday, top health officials forecasted Ontario could be reporting 1,000 daily new cases in the first half of October.
The province reported 732 new coronavirus cases on Friday morning, which is the highest single-day count to date.
As of October 2, there has been a total of 52,980 cases, with 44,850 resolved and 2,927 reported deaths.