Ontarians with COVID-19 no longer require tests to be considered virus-free

WATCH ABOVE: The province announced a $17-billion aid package to help deal with the growing COVID-19 outbreak. Travis Dhanraj reports.

Health officials in Ontario are allowing most people who test positive for COVID-19 to end their 14-day self isolation, without test results confirming they’re negative.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon at Queen’s Park, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province’s associate medical officer of health, confirmed, “if the case is not hospitalized, they’re not a health care worker, they recover, they feel fine and it’s been 14 days since they became ill, we’re saying they can be considered resolved.”

Yaffe said public health units were informed of the change this week.


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Previously, in order for a case to be considered “resolved” and listed as such in public health numbers, the individual had to receive two negative tests over 24 hours.

It is likely that this policy change could dramatically increase the number of “resolved” cases in Ontario, which, as of Wednesday evening, stood at eight.

Meanwhile, the province is dealing with a limited supply of tests due to a global demand for them, with tests currently being rationed to those who need them most.

As the scramble to procure more tests continues, Global News has reported on individuals experiencing symptoms with a travel history attending assessment centres and being turned away because of the lack of swab kits.

Yaffe says that short supply is part of the reason most that recover from the virus won’t be getting re-tested for now.

“As you know, there there’s a lot of lab tests that are being tested, being required and to be prioritized,” Yaffe said. “And so, those tend to not be prioritized.”

Viruses often persist at low levels even after recovery.


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An article published in February in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed four medical professionals from Wuhan and found trace-levels of the virus weeks after the individuals were symptom free.

“These findings suggest that at least a proportion of recovered patients still may be virus carriers,” the researchers wrote.

While their viral loads were considered low, the researchers pointed out very intimate contact could still pose a risk.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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