The Ontario government has launched a new online portal where citizens can take an enhanced COVID-19 self-assessment and, if they have been tested for COIVD-19, check their lab test results.
By offering citizens faster and secure access to their test results, the government says the website at covid-19.ontario.ca will ease some of the pressure on public health units and front-line workers to provide this information.
The new website includes an enhanced self-assessment tool with more specific instructions for people who have returned to Canada in the past month or have higher risks associated with getting COVID-19.
Patients checking their lab test results will be asked to verify their identity with the information on their photo health card. The portal will then provide patients with their test results and offer guidance on next steps.
“With this new portal, patients will be able to access their test results faster from the safety of their home,” says Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “It will help reduce the burden on our public health units and front-line health workers, allowing them to focus their efforts where they are needed most during this challenging time.”
Ontario is also issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that, effective immediately, gives health units the authority and flexibility they need to make staffing decisions, regardless of any collective agreements that may have previously restricted these decisions.
The government says this will give public health units the ability to significantly expand their capacity to implement critical public health functions (such as case and contact management) through the use of volunteers, including medical students and retired nurses.
The government also says the new emergency order will support the recommendation made by Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, for all public health units to implement more aggressive contact tracing and management in response to the increase of community transmission. The government is also encouraging the province’s medical officers of health to use their authority under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to ensure isolation of cases and contacts of COVID-19.
“We are at a critical juncture in our fight against COVID-19,” said Elliott. “Our success as a province depends on our ability to quickly and effectively stop the spread of this new virus. These actions offer considerable support to our local health units and give them the authority they need to act and contain COVID-19 in our communities.”