Not everyone can be tested for coronavirus, nor should they be: André Picard
2020-03-17 from theglobeandmail.com
As the number of coronavirus cases climbs, and anxiety rises even faster, everyone is clamouring for more new coronavirus testing.
But let’s be clear: Not everyone can, will or should be tested.
The number of tests is not unlimited, nor is Canada’s laboratory capacity.
We have to focus testing on high-risk groups, meaning those who are most likely to spread the coronavirus to others and those most likely to suffer the greatest harm.
Currently, that includes five broad categories:
- Travellers who have returned to Canada and now have symptoms of COVID-19 (notably dry cough and fever), and their direct contacts with symptoms;
- People with severe respiratory illness such as pneumonia, regardless of whether they have left the country or not;
- People in institutional care – nursing homes, long-term care, hospitals – who show symptoms;
- People living in remote First Nations communities who have symptoms;
- Any health-care workers who are sick with respiratory symptoms;
We also need to do some random testing, especially in high-risk settings such as nursing homes and hospitals.
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