School-aged children will no longer be tested at the rapid molecular COVID-19 testing site in west London, officials with the Thames Valley Family Health Team (TVFHT) said Friday.
The move comes just over a week after the site, which operates out the Springbank Medical Centre at 460 Springbank Dr., began taking appointments for the rapid molecular tests, which confirm COVID-19 by detecting the genetic material of the virus in a fluid sample swabbed from a person’s nose or throat by a health professional.
The tests will now be limited to symptomatic and asymptomatic health-care workers in primary and community care who need a negative test to return to work, in addition to EMS workers, paramedics, firefighters and police, TVFHT says. Additional groups may be added to the eligibility list as resources allow, officials said.
Officials with TVFHT say the change is in reaction to the province’s announcements that it would roll out more rapid antigen tests to public schools and child-care settings as students get ready to return to class next week, and limit eligibility for PCR testing.
“There’s been changes to the testing guidance that guides who we can test at the rapid testing site… guides the testing that can be done at any of the official testing and assessment centres in Ontario,” said Mike McMahon, executive director of TVFHT on Friday, referring to the eligibility changes.
“We are not able to test school aged children at this time, and so that guidance is the final word. Until we get an opening of the testing guidance provincially, we won’t be able to accept appointment requests for a school-age child.”
As the province’s eligibility changes took effect before the rapid testing site opened last week, no school-aged children wound up getting tested at the clinic.
“It’s a hub-and-spoke service. The hub is at Carling in our region, and we’re a spoke service that’s connected to the Carling Testing and Assessment Centre. All of the guidance is for those provincial resources,” McMahon said.
Those eligible for rapid molecular testing at the site can book appointments Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the region’s COVID-19 testing portal, or by phone at 519-808-5021.
“We’ve been doing testing every day and including today,” McMahon said. “There’s a segment of the community that is benefiting from a rapid molecular test, that once they’re find out the result, they don’t need a confirmation of a positive or negative. It’s a final result.”
More information on COVID-19 testing in the London and Middlesex region can be found on the Middlesex-London Health Unit website.
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