Since April 1, 2020, The Marathon COVID-19 Assessment Center has been providing local access to COVID-19 testing, including PCR tests/nasal swabs, to anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 as per provincial guidelines.
With the surge in cases that is currently being experienced across the province, the public health system in Ontario no longer has the capacity to test everyone with symptoms of COVID-19. This has led the province to make changes in COVID-19 testing eligibility.
Eligibility for publicly funded PCR tests is now being limited to symptomatic individuals who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and to individuals who work in high risk settings, including hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, some congregate living settings, and other settings as directed by local public health units. According to Dr. Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, “this updated eligibility will ensure that those at highest risk of severe outcomes and those caring for them have timely access to test results”.
Moving forward, individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 who don’t meet the new eligibility criteria (listed below) should assume they are infected with COVID-19 and isolate for 5 to 10 days, depending on their risk and vaccination status. For more information on what to do if you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, please visit the following website: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/exposed.
You are eligible for a PRC test if you have at least one symptom of COVID-19, and you are:
- a patient-facing health care worker
- a first responder (fire, police and paramedics)
- a staff member, volunteer, resident/inpatient, essential care provider, or visitor in a highest risk setting (e.g. hospital, other group living facilities)
- a household member of someone who works in a highest risk setting
- a patient seeking emergency medical care, at the discretion of the treating clinician
- a temporary foreign worker in a congregate living setting
- being considered for COVID-19 treatment
- underhoused or homeless
- Be an elementary/secondary staff or student who has received a PCR self-collection kit
Regardless of whether or not you have symptoms, you are eligible for PCR testing if you:
- are from a First Nation, Inuit, or Métis community or travelling into these communities for work
- are on admission/transfer to or from a hospital or congregate living setting
- a close contact in the context of a confirmed or suspected outbreak in a highest risk setting, as directed by public health
- have written prior approval for out-of-country medical services from the General Manager of OHIP or are a caregiver for someone who does
- are in a hospital, long-term care, retirement home or other congregate living setting, as directed by public health units, provincial guidance or other directives
You can learn more about specifics here.