Second wave of COVID-19 in Ontario if testing numbers don't ramp up: expert

covid-19

We could see another spike in cases if COVID-19 testing numbers stay static in Ontario, according to one infectious disease expert in Toronto.

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, with Toronto Western, tells NEWSTALK 1010 that health specialists need funding and infrastructure in order to test more people for the virus, before we can even considering getting back to a sense of normalcy.

"We've got to increase our testing eligibility criteria to make it as broad as possible, that's going to take funding and support from the province and from the Ministry," Sharkawy says. "And I want to challenge Premier Ford. He wants testing to be up to par, he wants it to be better, he's got to put the funding and the infrastructure into the labs to allow the staffing to be there, to allow the equipment to be there, so that we can do that."

Sharkawy is predicting a second wave of COVID-19 in the province, if more people aren't tested.

"If we continue on this path, where we are satisfied with the rate of testing that's being done right now, there's no question we will see a second wave," Sharkawy says. "What (low testing numbers) is going to do, is lull us into a sense of accomplishment, that is a false one, and people will just naturally become more inclined to take more chances and the weather will get better and people will think 'Hey, everything is great'."

As for reopening the economy, Sharkawy says that should only be happening when we have an accurate representation of the true number of infections in the community.

"If you're talking about trying to ensure that we've got this background infection rate licked, and we are well on our way to opening up public institutions, even in a gradul fashion, you're not even close," he says.

Sharkawy adds that more than a million tests for COVID-19 should be completed in Ontario by this point.