Testing for COVID-19 is on the rise in Simcoe County as more and more people look to calm their nerves with a swab.
Health officials say those with no symptoms of the virus are showing up at assessment clinics in Barrie after a weekend out, anxious that they may have contracted the coronavirus.
"We're certainly seeing lots of people who have been at cottages over the weekend or parties who are concerned about the exposure they might have had there," says Dr. Barry Pakes, public health physician with the University of Toronto. "We usually are advising people like that, that the best time to be tested is five to seven days afterwards. They can certainly get tested earlier, and we are testing them."
Dr. Pakes is currently working at the Huronia Road assessment clinic in Barrie. He says the highest volume of testing typically happens on Mondays.
"People are becoming more comfortable with the risks that they're taking," he adds.
"The numbers of contacts per case has gone up substantially since a month ago," says Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner. "I think that's an indication people are not sticking within their circle."
The region's top doctor says the rise in infections over the last week is alarming. "I think it's worth noting that this is very substantial in our case count. We have not had a weekly increase of this magnitude since June 21, where we saw 40 cases."
Dr. Pakes advises continuing to take precautions as more businesses reopen, and the kids head back to school. "People still need to be very careful about their interactions with others. Go out and enjoy yourself. You wear a mask. You keep your distance from others. You stay outside."
The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie has a drive-thru testing clinic for asymptomatic people. Officials say they are testing roughly 1,000 individuals every week.
Public health officials recommend the COVID-19 Alert app. It notifies an individual of possible exposure with someone who has tested positive.
"If everybody does download it, I think it's an important measure of protection," says Dr. Pakes.
The app is free and privacy protected, says Dr. Pakes. It uses Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby phones of people who also have the app everywhere you go. If a person has been close to one of those codes within 14 days, it will send an alert to be tested.