Ottawa-For many Ottawa parents, it’s familiar to take a long drive down Bronson Avenue and wait at the Brewer Assessment Center. Eighteen months after the pandemic, unvaccinated children remain at high risk of being exposed to the virus.
“I actually mean I lost track of how many times they were all tested at this point,” said Regina Bateson, the parent of all three children under the age of twelve.
Bateson, who is familiar with this process, aims to become more familiar with the COVID-19 test. I hope she will soon be able to manage them herself.
The three mothers, along with a small group of Ottawa’s parents, are working with the state to improve access to rapid antigen testing.
“I think it makes a lot of sense to do the rapid testing that the state is already doing for the group of people who are most likely to find asymptomatic people and stop them before they occur. “Bateson said.
Testing is now available to businesses by the state and is used as a way to ensure that unvaccinated employees can continue to work.
“I have some unvaccinated people and I want to be able to keep them working, so I do a quick test twice a week. I think this is a good use case. Probably I think this is the best use case for us, said Dr. Doug Manuel, senior scientist at Ottawa Hospital.
Bateson hopes these tests will be available to schools and parents throughout the state, but she says she’s currently dissatisfied with the lack of access.
“They have this resource and aren’t using it, and what’s worse, it makes it impossible for volunteers who want to take action to even access the test,” she said.
Earlier this month, Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. Keeran Moore, said the state would consider expedited testing if COVID rates rise.
“If the price goes up in a particular area like Windsor, it’s 100 per 100,000, where we do a quick test to see how credible and safe it is for children to return to the classroom. We will consider doing it, “says Moore. September 9th.
In Ottawa, cases are relatively rare, but cases in children aged 5 to 11 years are still about three times higher than in adults.
“Currently, the level of infection in schools is said to be fairly low, but the number of cases in children is increasing, and the cases we see are often children,” said Dr. Manuel.
Manuel states that due to the relatively low levels of infection in Ottawa, the false positive rate returned by the rapid antigen test may exceed true positive results, possibly leading to negative results.
“At work, we are quickly screening for asymptomatic, unvaccinated, and unexposed people. At school, this increases the likelihood that children will be tested for false positives, and then. , They go to school as much as possible. ”
On Friday, Dr. Moore said he did not expect to provide rapid testing in low-case areas, but could target areas such as classroom outbreaks and high-case areas. rice field.
“[We]are ready to put them into action in high-risk communities and are in active discussion with several health units in the southwest, where the prevalence of community is high,” Moore said. .. “And I think it’s wise in such cases. The risk of infection is very low, and if there is no significant outbreak in the classroom, or if it does, be careful when adopting a strategy. The immunity rate of high school students is very high. “
Despite concerns, parents say they are still looking for any additional protection they can offer to their children.
“I think it’s overwhelming in terms of interest from those who want this for their children. The problem is really to meet that demand, and that’s where we’ve found an obstacle that we can’t break into. “Bateson said.
Ottawa Public Health and CHEO offer takeaway PCR tests for parents, and more than 120 schools in the city now offer takeaway test programs to extend to all schools in the city. I am aiming.
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