With area COVID-19 testing facilities running at full steam, Waterloo Region’s top doctor issued a plea to residents to only get tested if necessary.
“We appreciate all the efforts our testing partners are making to accommodate as many people as they can, and to increase availability where they can,” Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang told reporters Tuesday.
“They are working around the clock.”
Wang says those people with symptoms or those who have been directed to, should get a test, but anyone else should not.
“If you are not experiencing symptoms or you have not been directed to seek testing, please consider not going to an assessment centre at this time,” the region’s acting medical of health said during Tuesday’s weekly media briefing.
“This is only a temporary request. No one will be turned away, however, on a temporary basis we need to allow sufficient capacity at our assessment centers for people with symptoms and or who have been directed to seek testing.”
Area hospitals told Global News on Friday that they were operating above capacity including the drive-thru clinic in Kitchener which was testing well above 500 people per day despite being initially designed for 350 people per day. All the hospitals were looking at ways to boost their testing numbers.
In addition, the province has been conducting more than 30,000 tests a day with Premier Doug Ford saying they were looking to boost that number to 50,000.
Wang said that Waterloo Public Health has heard of instances where people are getting tested just so they can be cleared to attend a party but says that a negative result does not mean a person should attend a social gathering.
“They think that if they get a test and they’re cleared, then they can go outside the rules and socialize with other people,” Wang said, noting that they should not be going to the gathering the first place.
“It’s important for people to understand that’s definitely not recommended,” the doctor explained. “First of all, it’s taking up room at the testing centres and we need to prioritize those people who are symptomatic and have been directed to get testing.”
“But also, it doesn’t clear you for anything. It just means at that moment in time when you have that test, you were not positive.”
Wang went on to say you could be symptomatic right after the test so being cleared just means you don’t have COVID-19 at the moment you were tested.
“It doesn’t clear you to be able to socialize with more people,” she said. “A test will not change your risk.”View link »