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12-Mar-2021

Grey Bruce Public Health: Testing in schools unchanged, consistent with science and best practice


COVID-19 class lesson

Grey Bruce Public Health has released the following statement regarding COVID-19 testing in schools:

We received multiple inquiries on whether the Grey Bruce Health Unit has changed its recommendations on testing, especially in schools.

We would like to remind the community, and emphasize that, our recommendations for testing remain unchanged and consistent with the science and best practice.

With the current epidemiology of COVID-19 in Grey Bruce, COVID-19 testing is only appropriate, and strongly recommended, in the following two scenarios:

  • You have COVID-19 related symptoms
  • Public Health has let you know that you are a Close Contact to someone who has COVID-19, based on a thorough risk assessment completed only by Public Health. Determining who is a close contact is a decision that can only be made by Public Health.

An Open Letter was sent by the Medical Officer of Health to all parents and grandparents in Grey Bruce on September 10, 2020. The letter identifies:

  • Testing for COVID-19 can be a difficult event for some children. Like any other clinical test, there is the potential for complications, one of which is potential long-term anxiety that could negatively affect a child’s mental health.
  • False reassurance is another harm. Testing someone who has no symptoms only lets them know that on the day they were tested, they were not shedding the virus.  It is very possible to test negative one day (while incubating the virus), and then develop symptoms and test positive in a day or so. It is not a bulletproof way to say that you or your child is COVID-19 free.
  • Testing in people that have no symptoms can result in false positives. A false positive may cause significant and unintended anxiety in families linked to the false positive. Self-isolation, inability to attend work, and fear/anxiety are real outcomes of a false positive. This should be avoided based on the first principle in practicing medicine - “Do no harm”.

The recent initiative to provide voluntary in-school asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for students can be beneficial in areas with high rates of cases. However, due to the low case counts in Grey and Bruce, asymptomatic testing is not recommended by the Grey Bruce Health Unit.

Below is a link to fully explain who should be tested.

Testing info sheet (publichealthgreybruce.on.ca)

For more information on COVID-19 in general, please visit the Grey Bruce Health Unit website.

 


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