More Ontario residents eligible for free PCR tests

The province dramatically limited free PCR testing last month

Ontarians have more access to free PCR tests.

For the first time in two weeks, eligible pregnant people, selected unvaccinated adults over the age of 70 and first responders can get a free PCR test if they show COVID-19 symptoms.

As well, the Ministry of Health says household contacts of essential healthcare and congregate care workers can now get a free test.

The new guidance says that in order to be eligible for free PCR testing, adults age 70+ must also be considered for some form of outpatient treatment for COVID-19, such as Budesonside, Fluvoxamine, or shortly, Paxlovid.

The government announced on Dec. 30, 2021, that testing would be limited to health care and congregate care workers, homeless people, the hospitalized, Indigenous Ontario residents, those identified in outbreak investigations, and some public school students in select circumstances.

At the time, officials said this was done after the testing network became overwhelmed due to the Omicron variant.

Prior to Dec. 30, PCR testing was available to just about anyone in the province who had symptoms or contact with a previously identified case.