Andrea Horwath county Ontario covid-19 testing Health Andrea Horwath county Ontario

Rising COVID-19 indicators in Ontario prompt calls for expanded access to PCR tests

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COVID-19 indicators rising in Ontario, opposition politicians are calling on the government to expand access to PCR tests for the virus.Critics have been calling for Ontario to reinstate broad access to the gold-standard tests, which have been restricted to certain groups of high-risk people since December when the Omicron variant overwhelmed resources.Those calls continued on Wednesday as some suggested the province was entering a sixth wave of cases after a lull following the peak of the Omicron wave.

Ontario heading into another COVID-19 wave, expert says Liberal House Leader John Fraser says “a sixth wave is upon us” and therefore the government should broaden access to the tests, a call echoed by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.Green Leader Mike Schreiner called on the government to keep offering rapid antigen COVID-19 tests for free at pharmacies and grocery stores next week.A program offering tests at those sites was set to run for at least eight weeks when it was introduced in February, and a spokeswoman for the health minister says the province is considering whether to keep it running.Alexandra Hilkene says Ontario is also waiting for the federal government to confirm it will continue supplying rapid tests.The calls came as Ontario reported 1,610 new virus cases _ though the province’s top doctor has said the number is likely 10 times higher due to the PCR testing restrictions _ and a test positivity rate of 15 per cent.There were also 778 people in hospital with the virus, including 165 patients in intensive care.The hospitalization number dipped slightly from 790 the day before but the Ontario Hospital Association noted on Twitter that daily hospitalizations were still trending upwards.Ontario dropped the.

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