Expanded testing eligibility for COVID-19 includes grocery store employees, other essential workers

CORNWALL — The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is touting recently expanded COVID-19 testing criteria, following new provincial guidelines handed down last week.

“Increasing the number of individuals who get tested will play an important role in informing us on the status of the virus in our community,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU.

“Coupled with the level of hospital use and ICU admissions, testing results can help us better gauge the level of threat that COVID-19 poses to our population.”

Testing has been expanded to include individuals in the categories listed below if they have at least one symptom of COVID-19. (Visit the EOHU’s website for the updated list of symptoms.)

• Persons working in congregate (group) living settings and institutions
• Healthcare workers or staff who work in healthcare facilities
• Caregivers and care providers
• First responders such as firefighters, police, and paramedics
• Persons living in the same household as healthcare workers and staff working in healthcare
facilities/caregivers and care providers/first responders
• Members of indigenous communities
• Patients requiring frequent contact with the healthcare system (including pregnant women and
persons with illnesses that need ongoing treatment)
• Essential workers
• Cross-border workers

Yesterday, reacting to a recent positive case at a Food Basics outlet in Cornwall, Dr. Roumeliotis emphasized that grocery store employees fall into the “essential workers” category and are eligible for testing. He also implored any employees at essential businesses to stay away from their workplaces if they have any COVID-19-like symptoms.

As for those who don’t fall in one of the categories above, but have COVID-19 symptoms, they may still need to be tested, according to the EOHU. To learn more, visit the If You Have Symptoms section of the COVID-19 page on the EOHU website. Also check out the Ontario Ministry of Health’s updated COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool at Ontario.ca/coronavirus.

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