Ontario hasn’t hit its testing target, premier says no one is seeking testing

Public Health Ontario reported over 24,000 tests waiting to be processed

On Tuesday, it was announced the province ran just over 24,000 COVID-19 tests. This is less than half those the province vowed to run by mid October.

“Our next goal is to get to 50,000,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott during a September 16 media conference. “We expect we will be there within the next month or so, we don’t have a definite date but we are actively working towards that with Ontario Health.”

Premier Doug Ford was asked on Tuesday about the lower-than-expected testing numbers. “The good news is all the backlogs cleaned up,” he said. “We had a little blip there for a week, two weeks. Now it’s all caught up. So anyone who’s going to get a test, you can get a result almost immediately, a day later, two days later.”

Public Health Ontario reported there were 24,129 tests waiting in backlog on Tuesday, while Premier Ford insists the lower daily testing rates are not a question of lack of testing capacity. Instead, he says, there are fewer people seeking testing. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ford added. “We have the capacity now to do upwards to 50,000, and people aren’t coming in. So I don’t know if that’s good news, bad news.”

“Maybe people aren’t showing the symptoms,” he concluded. “If you’re showing symptoms, please come in and get tested.”

As of 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s online COVID-19 booking system showed many available appointments throughout the afternoon.