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Ottawa's COVID-19 Testing Taskforce calling on more children to be tested

Officials say cases of children and youth testing positive for the virus have dramatically increased, while there has been a significant drop in the number of kids getting tested.
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A healthcare worker prepares to collect a sample to test for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing site on March 20, 2020. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Wilfredo Lee

The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce feels more children need to be tested for the novel coronavirus, as officials say cases of children and youth testing positive has dramatically risen.

According to the taskforce's daily testing update for Wednesday, January 14, CHEO was consistently finding 25 to 40 new cases within children and youth each week, leading up the holidays. The number of positive cases have more than doubled in the first week of January, with 92 pediatric cases.

CHEO says it also experienced a significant drop in the number of children tested. The number dropped from 1,500 the week of December 12 to 660 the week of January 2.

According to the task force, the decline, along with a surge in identified cases, has resulted in an overall positivity rate of 14 per cent, with 21 per cent among children between five and 12 years-old.

The taskforce adds, it understands there are a multitude of reasons that would lead a parent or guardian to not get their kids tested, from fear over the test itself to guilt associated with socializing with others over the holiday. However, they urge parents or guardians to get their children tested if required as it can add to a growing risk of community spread, pressures on the health care system, along with potentially extending lockdowns or other restrictions.

The taskforce is also encouraging parents, family members, and teachers to strongly advocate a child gets tested for COVID-19 if they have been in close contact with a high-risk contact or are experiencing symptoms.

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