Nearly 6,000 COVID-19 tests done in Thunder Bay: TBDHU

Nearly 6,000 COVID-19 tests have been done in the Thunder Bay area, the health unit’s medical officer of health said Monday.

“The lab is a big backlogged right now, there’s so many tests in the system,” Dr. Janet DeMille of the Thunder Bay District Health Unit said. “We’ve continued to do a lot of tests here.”

“We definitely ramped up a number of weeks ago,” she said.

DeMille’s words came a week after Ontario Premier Doug Ford said some health officials “aren’t performing.” Testing numbers for the day had dropped to about 10,600 after five straight days during which more than 14,000 tests were done.

But DeMille said testing numbers rose over the rest of the week.

Now, she said, with measures slowing being rolled back and spread of the virus slowing, COVID-19 testing will need to change.

“We’ve been doing a lot of testing in order to find cases,” DeMille said. “We’re expecting to hear a bit more direction from the province soon around what does testing look like now that we’re … at the end of the first wave of this pandemic, and we’re going into a place where we’re going to start re-opening.”

“We need to really have vigilance, and really testing to really monitor what’s happening, especially in vulnerable groups, so that we can pick up something earlier,” she said. “Looking at blood testing of a sample of the population to know what level of immunity, or what level of exposure we’ve already had — all of those will really inform our next step in terms of testing.”

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