Brant County Health Unit Expands COVID-19 Testing

BRANTFORD – The Brant County Health Unit has announced it is now expanding its COVID-19 testing within the community to include a larger group with the possibility of exposure to the virus.

“Over the weekend the province announced new guidance for the public regarding who can be tested for COVID-19,” Dr. Elizabeth Urbanke, Acting Medical Officer of Health explains. “This testing guidance now incorporates those who may not be showing any symptoms but have identified that may be at risk for contracting the illness. This could include people who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19.”

Dr. Elizabeth Urbanke, Acting Medical Officer of Health

Urbanke adds, “it also includes people who are contacts of or may have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case or people who are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their employment, including essential workers, such as, healthcare workers, grocery store employees or food processing plant employees.”

Those who would like to be tested may contact the assessment centre at the Brant Community Healthcare System.

Urbanke emphasizes, local testing rates are above the provincial average. As of May 25th, a total of 7,583 tests were administered in Brant, resulting in a rate of 56 tests per 1,000 people. Province-wide, the testing rate is 47 tests per 1,000 people.

“From the week beginning May 18th and ending on May 24th, locally, we saw a six per cent increase in cases from the previous week. Only one of these six cases currently appears to be community transmission related.”

Dr. Elizabeth Urbanke, Acting Medical Officer of Health

Earlier this week, the Brant County Health Unit reported an additional COVID-19 related death, bringing the area’s total to four, and the first to occur in many weeks. However, Dr. Urbanke says, the actual cause of death is under investigation.

“This individual was a male in his fifties,” Dr. Urbanke says. “The transmission is still under investigation. His death occurred in the community and he tested positive on post-mortem examination.”

The health unit is awaiting final results from the coroner’s office whether the death was due to COVID, or another cause, along with the COVID positive test result.