COVID-19 testing no longer required before a scheduled surgery at Ottawa hospitals, testing taskforce says

The Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus on Oct. 13, 2020. (Katie Griffin / CTV News Ottawa)

The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce says COVID-19 testing is no longer required before a scheduled surgery or medical procedure at an Ottawa hospital.

The testing taskforce updated its recommendation for testing this week, saying it was based on current daily COVID-19 case counts and increasing vaccine coverage.

"The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce has made the recommendation that COVID-19 testing before a scheduled surgery or medical procedure is no longer routinely required in our region," said the testing taskforce in a statement.

"Ottawa Public Health has consistently reported under 60 COVID-19 cases per day since the end of May. The low prevalence of COVID-19 in our community, coupled with rising vaccination rates, meets the taskforce’s threshold to safely pause pre-operative COVID-19 testing."

The Ottawa Hospital confirmed to CTV News Ottawa on Friday that COVID-19 testing was no longer required before a procedure at its hospitals.  The Ottawa Hospital previously required patients who were scheduled for a non-urgent surgery that required a general anesthetic to complete a COVID-19 test 72 hours before their surgery.

The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce says screening questionnaires before a procedure will continue to be administered at hospitals to make sure patients have had no known exposure to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms consistent with the virus.

There may still be "unique circumstances" where health care providers recommend an individual patient be tested, according to the testing taskforce.

Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce members include CHEO, the Ottawa Hospital, Montfort Hospital and the Queensway Carleton Hospital.