Hamilton may benefit as Ontario okays COVID-19 rapid testing in schools


Published October 5, 2021 at 5:49 pm

Hamilton schoolchildren, and concerned parents, could soon receive free school-based antigen testing for COVID-19.

The Ontario government, five weeks into the school year, switched its policy about rapid antigen testing of asymptomatic students on Tuesday (Oct. 5). It will now make the tests available for students through participating public health units where risk of transmission is high. Up until now, the province and school boards had been relying on at-home screenings from children and parents. The switch is a way to detect COVID-19 cases in school children at an early stage to avoid outbreaks that could lead to classroom closures.

Details on when the tests would arrive will have to be worked out between Hamilton Public Health Services and the province.

The City of Hamilton’s challenges with containing the virus has also been felt within each school board.

Hamilton has the fifth-highest COVID-19 positivity rate among the province’s 34 public health units. That appears to have affected both boards.

The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board is also believed to have the highest percentage of schools that have had at least one COVID-19 case so far this fall. Unsurpisingly, since many schoolchildren who are with either board interact elsewhere, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board has the second-highest, or second-worst rate. In fact, HWDSB) said it had 112 cases and 11 outbreaks in September.


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