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'In the red': Ottawa's top doc explains when and when not to get tested for COVID-19

Due to the volume of testing and capacity issues, turnaround times for test results are now at five days, Ottawa Public Health reports. 
COVID-19 swabs
Nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 testing. File photo.

With testing centres in Ottawa stretched to the max — resulting in long wait times and strains on supplies and staff — city councillors spent the morning asking Ottawa’s top doctor for clarity on who should seek COVID-19 testing, while clearing some confusion over the recently invoked Section 22. 

And what Dr. Vera Etches revealed Wednesday, was just how close the city is to being “in the red” on the pandemic level amid the continued and consistent rise in cases. 

In fact, families should only seek testing if they are experiencing symptoms. 

There is also no need for a whole family to get tested if just their child has symptoms. 

“We do not use orders in those situations,” Dr. Etches explained. “We problem solve with people. The orders are for when someone is just refusing to help, and we need to make sure we are protecting folks who are contacts, and stopping spreading in vulnerable settings.”

And while some workplaces and schools say they require a negative test before returning, it’s not actually a rule or requirement by Ottawa Public Health. 

Due to the volume of testing and capacity issues, turnaround times for test results are now at five days, OPH reports. 

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