Toronto Board of Health pushes to have saliva-based coronavirus testing

Sep 21 2020, 5:39 pm

The Toronto Board of Health unanimously approved a series of measures, like saliva-based testing, to target the recent increase of COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, the board held a virtual meeting and called on all three levels of government to implement new testing methods like at-home and saliva-based testing options.

This option of testing was recently made available in British Columbia for outpatient, school-aged children and youth (kindergarten to Grade 12) who are able to follow instructions on how to swish, gargle and spit a small amount of saline, the BC Centre for Diseases and Control outlines.

The Toronto health board also called on the federal Government to improve data management and sharing, to increase enforcement of the Quarantine Act provisions for international travellers.

“Fighting COVID-19 is a marathon, not a sprint. The concerning resurgence of COVID activity that we’re seeing in our city means that we have to keep evolving and adapting our response. Right now, we need to prevent a big second wave, and keep schools, child care centres, and other important services open,” Board of Health Chair and Councillor, Joey Cressy said in the statement.

“That means taking our cues from our public health experts, including our Medical Officer of Health, as well as ensuring that we continue to work collaboratively with our Federal and Provincial partners on proactive solutions that will help to protect people and save lives.”

And at the Provincial level, the board approved recommendations from Toronto Public Health for adjustments to school operations like reducing all class sizes to adhere to two metre physical distancing requirements.

They also called on the Ontario Government to fund infection prevention and control measures in long-term care facilities and to improve turnaround times for laboratory tests.

“Along with the above recommendations, the Board endorsed Toronto Public Health’s efforts to scale up case and contact management capacity and enhanced supports for vulnerable populations and communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” the release adds.

The Board of Health also expressed support for Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, to pursue any additional actions “deemed necessary to combat a drastic spike in cases in the coming days and weeks.”

These actions could include, but are not limited to, a possible further reduction in social gathering limits, additional rules or restrictions for commercial settings, and an expansion of mask and face covering requirements.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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