Thanked the frontline staff working around the clock to provide testing to families.
It’s another layer of protection to keep students and staff safe. 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/dPQazypP6s
— Stephen Lecce (@Sflecce)
Participation has been low. In the first week data was posted, testing was offered at 563 Ontario schools and a total of 3,294 tests were conducted. For the next week of data posted March 12, testing was offered at 421 schools and 6,875 tests were conducted.
In Ottawa, the most recent weekly results posted by the province showed 27 Ottawa schools were invited and 1,418 tests were conducted.
The provincial data does not specify how many of the tests conducted across Ontario are students and staff, and how many are household members.
In Ottawa, public health provides a breakdown that indicates 42 per cent of tests conducted during the first six weekends of pop-ups were students. The remainder were “other,” such as school staff and family members.
In Ottawa and some other areas, clinics are held at one location, but multiple schools are invited to attend.
Ottawa Public Health said it is looking at ways to improve testing, such as evening clinics, which have been used in the past, for operating during school hours.
Another option being tested out in Toronto is giving saliva testing kits to students to take home.
The school testing has uncovered relatively few cases of COVID-19. In the last week of data, for instance, 39 positive cases were found among the 6,875 tests conducted.
Lecce has said that represents a test positivity rate of less than one per cent, demonstrating that schools are safer than the surrounding communities. However, that comparison is problematic, since the school pop-ups also test people from the community, and most of the people tested at schools have no symptoms, so they are less likely to test positive than those tested at regular clinics.
Ottawa Public Health cautions in its report that the pop-up testing results cannot be used to reach any conclusions about the prevalence of COVID-19 among all students.
This content was originally published here.