A COVID-19 testing site for schoolchildren and health workers that opened last week in London said Friday it is no longer offering tests to children because the province has changed COVID-19 testing eligibility.
The Thames Valley Family Health Team announced Dec. 21 that it was opening a site at 460 Springbank Dr. on Jan. 5 to offer rapid molecular testing to schoolchildren from kindergarten to Grade 12 and health-care workers. The family health team operates COVID-19 testing sites in London and Middlesex County.
At that time, schoolchildren needed a negative PCR test in order to return to school.
The agency announced Friday the Springbank site is no longer testing schoolchildren because of the province’s changes in COVID-19 testing eligibility amid the surge of the Omicron variant.
“We are a site that's affiliated with the testing for London-Middlesex that's provided by the province, and the current testing guidance provincially is that we are not testing children,” Mike McMahon, executive director, said Friday.
“We are also bound by that testing guidance and, if that testing guidance changes, we will absolutely be opening, if that need remains,” he said.
The testing centre will continue to conduct tests for symptomatic and asymptomatic health-care workers in primary care and community care and those who work in emergency medical services, such as paramedics.
The province announced changes to eligibility for PCR testing last month. New public health measures in schools, such as the distribution of N95 masks for staff and the addition of ventilation devices, were announced this month.
Before the changes came into effect, McMahon said “very few" tests had been administered to schoolchildren.
“The change in testing guidance came on the day we opened coincidentally,” he said.
“This was something that we had planned as a service in September, October. This was not planned for an Omicron wave of the pandemic. This was planned for conditions that were similar to what we were experiencing in mid-fall.”
Health-care and medical workers can book their appointments by phone or online at covidtestinglm.ca from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. No walk-in appointments are available.
Visitors will receive their COVID-19 test results at the end of their appointment, not by provincial online test results, phone or email.
Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press