rapid tests

Petition demanding free COVID-19 tests to every household in Ontario gathers steam

A petition urging Ontario Premier Doug Ford to provide free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to every household in Ontario is gaining traction—as of publication, it has received over 1,500 signatures.

The petition, created on Monday by Birgit Umaigba, notes that COVID-19 cases are rising by the day, and that research shows that rapid antigen tests are instrumental in preventing asymptomatic spread of COVID-19, as they provide quick and reliable results.

“This is why they need to be made available to every Ontarian,” the petition states, noting that the pandemic is lingering because of a lack of equitable public health measures.

“While each rapid antigen test costs $40 in Ontario, families in New Brunswick are entitled to free rapid tests. Several nurses, doctors, personal support workers, teachers, members of the public and science experts are calling for free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests for Ontarians,” the petition reads, calling for Ford to “listen and follow the science”.

Although there is no response as yet from Ford’s cabinet, the petition is gaining traction across social media, with many calling for free (and easily accessible) COVID-19 rapid tests to be available in communities across Ontario.

On Monday, Ontario reported 887 new COVID-19 cases—426 cases are in people who are vaccinated, 397 cases are in unvaccinated individuals, and 64 cases are in individuals with unknown vaccination status. Monday’s case count represents a nearly 13 per increase from the 788 cases reported last Monday.

In Ontario, 24,015,833 vaccine doses have been administered to date; 90.1% of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 87.3% have two doses. As for hospitalizations—137 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 168 people are in ICU due to COVID-19-related illness, and 101 are in ICU on ventilators due to COVID-related critical illness.

As of Monday, there is a total of 14 confirmed cases of the omicron variant in Ontario.

Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario news and here for where you could get rapid COVID-19 tests in Toronto (including a new drive-thru option).

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO