The City of Toronto is working with the Province of Ontario to distribute rapid antigen tests to licensed child care programs in the community for use where a staff member, child care provider or child in care is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Beginning today, the City will support this provincial initiative by helping to ensure that rapid antigen test kits are distributed as quickly as possible to community-based child care programs, including licensed home child care agencies. Child care programs that are located in schools will receive rapid antigen test kits directly from their school or school board.
Two rapid antigen tests will be allotted per staff member/care provider and infant, toddler and preschool child in care and are to be used when they present any symptoms of the COVID-19 virus and its variants. Children, child care staff members and child care providers will continue to be actively screened every day for symptoms upon entering a child care program, as has been the process throughout the pandemic.
This initiative builds on additional measures that were recently announced to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in child care settings, including: the provision of non-fit-tested N-95 masks for child care workers and providers; updates to the COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines; and updates to the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool.
“The City is committed to supporting any effort to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to keep children, their families and child care workers safe. By providing one more tool to help detect symptomatic cases, we can make a concerted effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 and keep child care programs open for the families that need them.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Child care providers play an essential role in the early learning and care of our City's children. It is important that they have access to every means available to keep children, their families and child care workers healthy and reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair, Economic and Community Development Committee.
“Throughout the pandemic, Toronto Public Health has worked closely with child care providers to help keep children and families safe. We are pleased that rapid antigen tests will be available them, offering another piece of information to support the health of children and help contain the spread of COVID-19.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health
“The City of Toronto is committed to doing everything possible to increase protection for our children and child care workers in early learning and child care settings. Combined with other measures such as the use of high-quality masks, cleaning and screening procedures currently in place in community care settings, this rapid testing initiative will help to minimize exposure to the contagious Omicron variant."
– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Board of Health