COVID-19 testing for grocery store workers, restaurant staff and maintenance employees just got easier. Ottawa Public Health has recently expanded the criteria for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa, and it now includes people who have less-common symptoms. This includes unexplained fatigue, nausea, chills, headaches and a loss of taste or smell.

In an announcement on Saturday, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) revealed that even more people are now eligible for novel coronavirus testing at the city's COVID-19 Assessment Centre.

While the criteria previously excluded those with less-common symptoms of the disease, it has now been updated to include those who are experiencing more unusual signs.

According to their updated statement, this includes unexplained fatigue, delirium (a medical condition that involves confusion, changes to memory, and odd behaviours), nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, chills, headaches, and more.

Previously, testing was prioritized for people with common symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, a cough, sore throat, runny nose, or difficulty breathing.

This means that some essential employees, such as health care workers, first responders and long-term care providers will now be able to get tested for COVID-19, even if they’re only displaying one uncommon symptom of the disease.

Other essential workers, such as grocery store staff, restaurant staff and maintenance and transportation workers can also be tested for novel coronavirus, as long as they are experiencing at least one common symptom.

In addition to essential workers, those eligible for COVID-19 testing includes: Close contacts of confirmed or probable cases, returning international travellers, health care workers and members of their household, individuals who are likely to be hospitalized, and more.

The full list can be found here.

Ottawans who meet the criteria, and who are displaying symptoms of the disease, will be able to get tested.

The assessment involves providing a swab sample that is taken from the throat or the nose.

This latest update comes as Ontario has faced criticism over the lack of COVID-19 testing that has been carried out across the province.

Earlier this month, Premier Doug Ford committed to eventually assessing 14,000 people per day across the region, a number which would almost double the current statistics.

Speaking on April 8, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health confirmed that the city’s larger goal is to offer testing to anybody sharing a household with health care staff and essential workers, including grocery store staff and delivery drivers.

If you’re concerned about the symptoms of COVID-19, the federal government has created a dedicated self-assessment test for checking your potential symptoms.

*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.

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