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COVID-19 kids’ assessment centre in Ottawa offering take-home test kits

Parents can administer less-invasive COVID-19 tests to their kids with the help of take-home kits from OPH and CHEO. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Ottawa parents can now get their kids tested for COVID-19 in the comfort of their own homes with take-home do-it-yourself kits.

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Public Health are offering the DIY kits via CHEO’s assessment centre at Brewer Park starting Friday.

Parents can schedule a time online to pick up the kits from the site and administer the tests themselves before returning the used swab to the assessment site. Instructions for how to properly administer the PCR test are included in the kit.

Read more: 20 active COVID-19 outbreaks in Ottawa

There are a few opportunities for walk-in appointments to collect a kit, but OPH says these are reserved for those without access to the online booking system.

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The test, available for youth older than two months but younger than 18 years of age, is a “less invasive” swab than what’s typically administered at an assessment centre.

“This BON (buccal/oral/nasal/) swabbing technique is easy, well-tolerated and produces accurate results,” according to OPH.

CHEO has produced a video showing how to administer the test at home.

The test should take roughly 20 minutes to complete at home, at which point the kit should be returned to the Brewer assessment centre for transportation to a lab for processing.

Additional information about picking up, administering and returning the tests is available in an OPH fact sheet.

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Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said earlier this week that demand for testing has risen ever since kids went back to school in early September.

The city’s testing partners have been working to increase capacity to accommodate the higher volumes of kids presenting for tests.

The McNabb Centre began offering testing hours this past weekend, and the Ray Friel Community Centre in the east end and Moodie care centre in the west will also be open with extended hours for those in need of a COVID-19 test this weekend.

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