SPORT MEDICINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE UPDATE:
General Statement on COVID-19 testing:
In Canada, indications for conducting testing for COVID-19 have changed over the course of the pandemic, as case definitions have evolved, and testing kits have become more available. The high-performance sport sector in Canada is considering testing of high-performance athletes in controlled, ‘bubble’ environments. Questions and considerations regarding athlete testing are under review and will inform a thoughtful, and planned response to the potential use of testing as one of numerous mitigation strategies used by an NSO in their return to training planning.
What is COVID-19 testing?
The most common test to confirm the diagnosis of COVID-19 is PCR testing of nasopharyngeal and/or throat swabs, combined with relevant clinical findings. The Public Health Agency of Canada has recommended using multiple samples over multiple days in those whose symptoms are strongly suggestive of COVID-19 yet return an initial negative test. In general, PCR tests for other respiratory viral infections tend to have a high sensitivity and specificity, although there is limited data specific to COVID-19.
As of May 20, 2020, two serology tests have been approved for use in Canada. At this stage the availability is limited to in Lab use and the reliable (approved) tests are not widely available for community screening. There is still significant debate on how long and to what level a person who has been infected with COVID 19 will maintain immunity or protection from a new infection. At this stage routine serology testing, specifically to enable return to group training or competition, is not recommended. As with everything in this pandemic this may change, and we will continue to monitor for any developments relevant to sports
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