Ottawa health unit trying to improve 7-day wait time for coronavirus test results

People tested for the novel coronavirus in Ottawa are now waiting up to seven days before receiving their results, the city’s public health unit says.

Local health officials are working to improve those wait times, Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said in a teleconference on Tuesday.

So far, the province of Ontario has confirmed 27 cases of COVID-19 in the national capital.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reports its figures separately and, as of Tuesday morning, was investigating 25 confirmed cases of the virus, plus 13 indeterminate cases.

Health officials are asking people who have been tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa not to call the public health agency about their test results.

Anyone who got tested at the local assessment centre at Brewer Park Arena should follow guidance on how to receive test results online, Etches said.

Those seeking clarification about what they should do while awaiting results should follow the health unit’s guidance on self-isolation, Etches said.

Ottawa could see around 4,000 new cases a day at peak, Etches says

Etches does expect the number of confirmed cases in Ottawa to increase and said earlier this week there could be up to 4,000 undetected cases in the city at this point. That estimate is based on modelling data that takes into account transmission of the virus locally and internationally and a variety of variables, according to Etches.

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On Tuesday, the city’s top doctor said health officials had seen previous models that suggested Ottawa could see up to 4,000 new cases per day at the peak of the spread.

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