(Bloomberg) -- Ontario will reserve publicly funded Covid-19 PCR tests to only the most vulnerable residents as Canada’s most populous province can’t keep up with record infections from the omicron variant.
Official testing will no longer be required for people who had a positive result using a rapid antigen test, Chief Medical Officer Kieran Moore said Thursday during a virtual announcement.
“The omicron variant is rapidly spreading and we must preserve these resources for those who need them the most,” Moore said.
With omicron proving to be less severe than its predecessors and with data showing when the virus is most contagious, the provincial government is also lowering isolation requirements for vaccinated people who have been infected to five days.
Other changes announced included adding 50% capacity restrictions to indoor spectator venues such as theaters and arenas starting Dec. 31, and allowing those in long-term care and retirement homes to get a fourth vaccine within three months of their last jab. Ontario is also pushing back the return to school by two days, to Jan. 5.
Ontario on Thursday reported 13,807 new cases of Covid-19, a new record, and cases are doubling about every three days, Moore said. The province hasn’t seen a corresponding rapid increase in hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions, he said.
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