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Data shows Ontario's asymptomatic school testing program producing low positivity rate

The asymptomatic school testing program started in Ottawa late January.
20200921_ctc covid-19 pop-up test centre DD9
Drive-thru pop-up COVID-19 test centre on Sunday, September 21, 2020. (Photo/Dani-Elle Dubé)

The number of COVID-19 cases identified by the province’s school testing program continues to be low.

Data obtained by CityNews shows just over 3,700 tests with 32 positive cases found.

The testing started in late January in Ottawa and Sudbury, and in February in Toronto, Peel, and Hamilton.

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce is reassuring parents the program is safe and one of the most effective across the country.

“Our government has taken action to deploy asymptomatic testing province-wide, the first program of its kind in Canada, as we recognize its strength as an additional layer of protection in our schools,” said Lecce in a statement.

“I encourage all students, staff, and families to take advantage of this program – which uses the least invasive testing options possible –  when offered for their school community. Our priority is keeping schools safe and open. That is why we will continue to follow the best expert medical advice and continue to implement strict measures to protect our schools and our province.”

Some of the testing was offered to symptomatic and asymptomatic students, staff, and household members.

In Toronto, testing between February 11 and 13 at 40 schools found 11 new cases of the virus, out of 917 tests.

All 72 of the province’s school boards have plans to ramp up testing this week with all students back in class – the province has also mandated boards cover five percent of schools each week at a minimum, and two percent of students.

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