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Testing criteria for COVID-19 expanded in Northern Ontario

The Porcupine Health Unit has started COVID-19 testing for people with mild symptoms.

Medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton says it’s part of a “targeted Northern Ontario survey opportunity”, as the province recognizes that this region is at a different stage of the pandemic.

She says it’s hoped to provide a better understanding of the coronavirus and the effectiveness of public health measures so far.

“So we’re going to be encouraging primary care groups and the Porcupine Health Unit team as well to be referring individuals with mild symptoms who were previously not necessarily a part of the guidance protocol for testing.”

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Catton says the province has also expanded the list of symptoms that go into the decision whether to test… from the original list of cough, fever and difficulty breathing.

“What we’ve been starting to see across the province is sore throat or hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, a loss of sense of smell or taste, fatigue, muscle aches, runny nose, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting can all be part of COVID-19,” the MOH states.

The advice remains the same: If you have those symptoms, call your health care provider or the health unit.

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