Taras Natyshak MPP, Essex

Government of Ontario

Natyshak: Inadequate access to testing is putting Essex families at risk

Published on December 4, 2020

ESSEX – Essex NDP MPP Taras Natyshak is calling on the Ford government to provide resources urgently to expand access to COVID-19 testing for residents in Essex County, and speed up turnaround times as the local health unit struggles to deal with rising case numbers in the region. Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said Thursday there could be up to a three-day wait just to get an appointment at assessment centres with people then forced to wait days to get their results – even for those living downtown who don’t have to drive miles to get a test.
 
“We know that more access to testing, and faster results, is critical if we are to crush the virus in our region and prevent more lockdowns. Families in Essex County, who don’t have an assessment centre nearby, are being put at greater risk with inadequate testing that many are unable to access,” said Natyshak. 
 
Natyshak says with case numbers continuing to rise every week and winter setting in, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people in Essex county to access testing that is vital for the safety of the community and for family members to visit loved ones in long-term care, that now requires a weekly test. “My constituency office is hearing from many seniors who are having difficulty with long drives to Windsor or Leamington to get tested. Winter road conditions will only make this travel even more difficult,” said Natyshak.
 
Natyshak says the Ford government must take action by sending emergency resources to the local heath unit to ramp up testing, contain outbreaks and contact tracing, and to open up more testing locations in rural counties like Essex. 
 
“This is fundamentally about fairness and providing the Essex community with much needed support as we battle to contain this virus and prevent more deaths. Our parents and grandparents need their essential caregivers to be able to get tested, wherever they live, to ensure they get the vital care they need,” said Natyshak. “Every Ontarian must have access to testing, regardless of their postal code. Lives are at stake here in Essex County, and across rural Ontario, and this government needs to take action before we see more deaths and more suffering in our community.”