Skip to content

New COVID testing requirements go into effect

Omicron variant milder; assessment centre now testing only symptomatic people in certain groups

On the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape, a new development has arisen.

The Ontario government, in consultation with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, has updated its COVID-19 testing guidelines.

Moore, Ontario’s top doctor, in a press conference Thursday, said effective Friday publicly-funded PCR testing will be given only to high-risk people who are symptomatic. 

The province is now asking members of the general public not to seek testing because the Omicron variant, while much more transmissible, is also much milder.

Rapid tests will not be used as widely and will be centred on hospitals, long-term care homes and retirement homes.

Sault Area Hospital (SAH) announced through its Facebook page that effective Dec. 31, 2021, testing at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre will only be provided for symptomatic people who fall into one of the following groups:

  • Patient-facing health care workers
  • Staff, residents, essential care providers, and visitors in hospitals and congregate living settings, including long-term care, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings, and correctional institutions
  • Symptomatic outpatients for whom COVID-19 treatment is being considered
  • Symptomatic people who are under-housed or homeless
  • Symptomatic elementary and secondary students and education staff who have received a PCR self-collection kit through their school
  • Symptomatic/asymptomatic people who are from First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities and individuals travelling into these communities for work
  • Symptomatic/asymptomatic people on admission/transfer to or from hospital or congregate living setting
  • High-risk contacts and asymptomatic/symptomatic people in the context of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in highest risk settings, including hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, other congregate living settings and institutions, and other settings as directed by the local public health unit
  • Individuals, and one accompanying caregiver, with written prior approval for out-of-country medical services from the General Manager, OHI
  • Asymptomatic testing in hospital, long-term care, retirement homes and other congregate living settings and Institutions as per provincial guidance and/or Directives, or as directed by public health units

COVID-19 test appointments can be booked online by clicking here.

You will be screened by phone before your appointment. If you do not meet the criteria for a test, your appointment will be cancelled.

More information about the SAH Assessment Centre can be found here.

What's next?

If you would like to apply to become a Verified reader Verified Commenter, please fill out this form.