COVID-19 backlog hits northeastern Ontario, 300 people waiting for test results

There are now ten cases of COVID-19 confirmed in northeastern Ontario.

Province struggling to turn test results around

A COVID-19 test backlog has at least 300 patients in northeastern Ontario waiting for their results. (CBC News)

There are now ten cases of COVID-19 confirmed in northeastern Ontario.

The Temiskaming district reported its first case yesterday.

There are also four cases in Sudbury, four in the Timmins/Cochrane area and one in the Algoma District.

But there could be many more, with dozens waiting for their test results.

Overworked labs are taking several days to report back to public health officials.

More than 10,000 people in Ontario are waiting to find out if they have the Coronavirus.

That includes at least 300 in the northeast, about half of all the local people tested so far.

Dr. Glenn Corneil, the acting medical officer of health at the Timiskaming Health Unit, said all people who are tested are told to self-isolate until they get the results back and know for sure if they have the virus.

"Part of our challenge is there's an extra day of transport time, at least one day, sometimes a little longer over the weekends, to get the tests down to Toronto," Corneil said. 

"The government and the testing labs are working very hard to increase their capacity."

'The direction does not change'

Corneil also said the health ministry is looking at setting up different measures for testing, like having hospitals conduct the tests in addition to local assessment centres.

Even with the changes, Corneil said the treatment is still the same.

"All cases who are swabbed are being told to closely self isolate," he said. "So while there's a little bit more of a delay right now, they're catching up with how many swabs are being done in the province. "

"But the direction does not change. It's if you're swabbed, you have to self isolate until we can get back to you on the results."

Public Health Sudbury and Districts is the only health unit in the region not reporting how many are waiting for results, but it has tested some 400 people for COVID-19 so far. 



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