By Janet Silver/iPolitics
Less than a week after the Ontario government changed its recommendations for who should get a PCR test for COVID, most people who took a rapid test had no symptoms, and hadn’t knowingly been in close contact with someone infected, according to a new poll by Mainstreet Research.
Up until Dec. 31, individuals could go to testing centres and some pharmacies for a PCR or rapid molecular test. Those guidelines were changed as demands for these services reached capacity. Isolation guidelines were also reduced at the end of December, from 10 days to five following the onset of symptoms for people fully vaccinated.
The poll shows that 19 per cent of respondents took a rapid test after the new recommendations were announced and that 81 per cent of those who took the test, were asymptomatic and were not in close contact with someone with COVID.
In addition, of the 19 per cent who took a rapid test, nine per cent tested positive, and over 91 per cent of respondents who tested positive did not have any flu-like symptoms.
When broken down by age, the majority of those who tested positive on a rapid test were between 50 to 54 and most were male at 12.4 per cent.
Respondents would have been testing on New Year’s Eve and the days following, for this poll.
Most respondents who took the rapid test in the seven-day survey time period, were adults ages 35- to 49 years at 23.9 per cent, followed closely by 18- to 34-year-old at 23.1 per cent.
South Central Ontario, located southeast of Toronto with five counties and about 1.6 million residents, was the region where most of these tests were taken at 25.7 per cent.
Only 21 per cent of those who tested positive with a rapid test then took a PCR test.
The poll of 1,246 adults, age 18 years and older was conducted on Jan. 6–7. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 per cent with a confidence level of 95 per cent.
COVID case counts reached a new high on Tuesday in Ontario with 3,220 patients reported in hospital with the virus. In addition, Ontario reported 477 people were being treated in the ICUs.
The provincial government also announced on Tuesday that when schools resume on Jan. 17, COVID tests will be limited.