Is it COVID-19 or the flu?

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By Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A new method of testing could soon diagnose your symptoms.

According to Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, there will be a new way of testing available in time for the upcoming flu season. Colby said this would be able to detect 20 of the most common respiratory infections and illnesses — including COVID-19.

Colby said testing would benefit sick people who aren’t sure if they have the flu or the coronavirus. He added the testing, called real-time multiplex testing, will simultaneously test people with symptoms such as sore throats, cough, and fever to determine what they have.

“They have tests that are available that will simultaneously test against 20 of the most likely culprits,” said Colby. “I suspect the COVID test will be incorporated into the multiplex panels in time for the respiratory virus season.”

As it stands, testing for COVID-19 is a standalone test.

As Chatham-Kent quickly approaches the dreaded flu season, Colby said special emphasis would be put on trying to get everybody vaccinated against the flu this year. He also said he’s hopeful a COVID-19 vaccine will be available by the end of the year.

While the assessment centre will continue at the Chatham hospital during flu season and beyond, mobile testing will soon come to an end as fall is approaching.

Colby said physical distancing works well to prevent all respiratory infections, including COVID-19.

“Physical distancing that is in place, works spectacularly well against all of the respiratory infections that we commonly see,” said Colby. “We really saw our influenza cases tail right off when the pandemic hit.”

• The Ridgetown Independent

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