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Ottawa Public Health expands testing to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms
OTTAWA -- Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 in Ottawa can now be tested for the virus.
Ottawa Public Health announced the new criteria for testing for COVID-19, two months after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Ottawa.
The health unit says “any Ottawa resident who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should now go for testing at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre or Care Clinics.”
Previously, COVID-19 testing was limited to priority groups showing symptoms of COVID-19, including health care workers, essential workers, people who had contact with a positive case of COVID-19 and residents over the age of 60.
Speaking to Council, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said “we are able to now encourage anyone who has COVID-like symptoms in the City of Ottawa to present for assessment, at either the Brewer Centre or the east or west care centres.”
More than 15,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena, and 2,333 people have been tested at the two Care Clinics in Ottawa.
“We want people who have fever, cough, difficulty breathing to present for assessment,” said Dr. Etches.
“We want people who have new respiratory or worsening respiratory symptoms, even like a sore throat or a cough, to present. These are things that could be COVID-19 related.”
The medical officer of health says while it’s still important to stay home if you’re sick, Ottawa Public Health now has the capacity to “test to see and rule out or confirm the infection is COVID-19.”
COVID-19 brings with it a variety of symptoms, though some are more common than others.
Common symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
Less common symptoms include
- Unexplained fatigue
- Acute functional decline
- Worsening of chronic conditions
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of taste/smell
There are two COVID-19 care clinics in Ottawa and one assessment centre
The care clinics are located at 595 Moodie Dr. and 1485 Heron Rd. They are open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
OPH says you should visit a care clinic if:
- You have escalating symptoms of respiratory illness, including a fever or worsening cough and flu-like symptoms, and
- Are in need of medical attention
The assessment centre is in the Brewer Arena at 151 Brewer Way. It is open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. seven days a week.
You do not need an appointment to visit the COVID-19 assessment centre.
While testing criteria has been expanded to anyone with symptoms, the following groups will still be given priority for testing if the number of people seeking a test is high.
- Ottawa residents 60 years and older
- Health care workers or staff who work in health care facilities and members of their households
- First responders such as firefighters, police and paramedics
- Critical infrastructure workers, including grocery stores, food services, maintenance and transportation workers
- Cross-border workers
- Caregivers and care providers
- Individuals with frequent health care contact such as patients with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy, dialysis therapy, pre-or-post transplant, pregnancy, and newborns
- A close contact of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
- Returning international travellers
- Members of remote, isolated, rural, and/or indigenous communities