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Toronto to distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to child care providers

A man displays his COVID-19 rapid test kit after receiving it at a pharmacy in Montreal, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

The City of Toronto says it will distribute rapid antigen COVID-19 tests to licensed child care programs in the community.

In a press release issued Tuesday, the city said it is working with the provincial government to distribute the tests.

According to the city, two test kits will be allotted per staff member or care provider and infant, toddler and preschool child in care.

Read more: Child care centres concerned about limited N95 mask supply from Ontario government

The city said the tests “are to be used when they present any symptoms of the COVID-19 virus and its variants.”

“Children, child care staff members and child care providers will continue to be actively screened every day for symptoms upon entering a child care program, as has been the process throughout the pandemic,” the release reads.

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The city said it will help to ensure the test kids are distributed “as quickly as possible” to community-based child care programs, including licensed home child care agencies.

According to the release, child care programs that are located in schools will receive the test kits directly from their school or school board.

In a statement, Toronto Mayor John Tory said the city is “committed to supporting any effort to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to keep children, their families and child care workers safe.”

“By providing one more tool to help detect symptomatic cases, we can make a concerted effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 and keep child care programs open for the families that need them,” he said.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ontario to distribute 9 million N95 masks to educators and child-care staff' COVID-19: Ontario to distribute 9 million N95 masks to educators and child-care staff
COVID-19: Ontario to distribute 9 million N95 masks to educators and child-care staff – Jan 12, 2022

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa said the city is pleased that rapid antigen tests will be available.

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She said the tests offer “another piece of information to support the health of children and help contain the spread of COVID-19.”

The city said the rapid test initiative “builds on additional measures” to reduce the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in child care settings.

The measures include providing non-fit-tested N95 masks to child care workers and providers, updating the COVID-19 testing and isolating guidelines and updating the screening tool for schools and child care settings.

Read more: 4,183 people in Ontario hospitals with COVID, 580 in intensive care

Tuesday’s news comes as the province announced a total of 4,183 people are in Ontario hospitals with COVID-19.

Of those, 580 are being treated in an intensive care unit.

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