Thunder Bay

Criteria for COVID-19 testing expanded at Thunder Bay hospital

The criteria for COVID-19 testing at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) assessment centre was expanded late last week, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) announced Wednesday. The unit is continuing to refer people to the assessment centre for testing based on that criteria.

Symptoms now include sore throat, runny nose, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as cough, fever and fatigue

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) says the criteria for testing for COVID-19 at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) assessment centre has been expanded. Possible symptoms of this coronavirus now include sore throat, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea as well cough, fever, fatigue and muscle aches. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The criteria for COVID-19 testing at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) assessment centre was expanded late last week, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) announced Wednesday. The unit is continuing to refer people to the assessment centre for testing based on that criteria.

According to the TBDHU, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (38°C and over), cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose, chills, or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. vomiting or diarrhea).

"Testing people for the COVID-19 virus is a very important strategy in this pandemic, not only to assess how many cases are in our communities, but also so public health can quickly follow-up with the individual with COVID-19 as well as others who may have been exposed to the virus and reduce any ongoing spread. Working with our health system partners, we continue to advocate for ongoing expansion of testing and testing capacity in this area", Dr. Janet DeMille, the TBDHU medical officer of health, stated in the release..

The people with the highest priority for testing includes:

  • Symptomatic health care workers and staff providing direct and non-direct patient care
  • Symptomatic residents and staff in long-term care facilities, retirement homes, and other communal living settings (e.g., correctional facilities, homeless shelters, group homes)
  • Symptomatic travelers returning from outside northwestern Ontario within the past 14 days
  • Symptomatic members of remote, isolated, rural and/or indigenous communities
  • Symptomatic first responders including police officers, firefighters and paramedics
  • Symptomatic close contacts of confirmed or probable cases

The TBDHU said it is also encouraging the following people to be tested:

  • Symptomatic individuals (e.g., children, partners, or other household members) living with health care workers or with staff who work in health care facilities
  • Symptomatic critical infrastructure workers, including  grocery stores, food services, maintenance and transportation workers, and utilities.

If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario's Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care.

Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, or if someone in self-isolation develops symptoms, they should contact the TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or toll-free: 1-888-294-6630 to be assessed for potential testing.

There is now an Online Portal to access COVID-19 test results directly from the provincial laboratory system. This portal was launched April 12 by the Ontario government and offers fast and secure access to test results on your computer and mobile device, the TBDHU stated.

For additional information about COVID-19 and the TBDHU area, please see the TBDHU website and social media channels. Additional updates will also be provided as needed. More information can also be found by visiting  this Ontario government coronavirus website

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