Hospitals failed to flag 700 positive COVID-19 tests to Ontario’s public health units

A nurse with William Osler Health System administers a test for COVID-19 at a drive-through assessment centre in Toronto.
Evan Mitsui/CBC

Date of Publication: June 1, 2020

Source: CBC

As Ontario and the nation as a whole inches closer to flattening the curve and overcoming the first wave of the coronavirus, accurate reporting and contact tracing of positive cases in the public has become more essential than ever. A failure to detect, report and trace positive cases is detrimental to progress of curbing the viral spread. This is precisely what has occurred in the William Osler Health System in Etobicoke and Brampton, with miscommunication leading to nearly 700 COVID-19 positive patients not being notified of their results. The unflagged positive cases involve people living in Toronto, Peel and York Region, and who were tested as far back as early April in the Osler’s drive-thru assessment centre at Etobicoke General Hospital, but were only notified of their positive result in the past few days. This error means hundreds of COVID-19 carriers were not instructed to strictly quarantine, contributing to wider spread of the coronavirus over the past two months, and no contact-tracing to determine who they have spread the virus to.

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Summary by: Hira Raheel