Alberta is expanding its rapid COVID-19 testing efforts

Dec 17 2020, 9:00 am

Alberta is ramping up its rapid COVID-19 testing.

Minister of Health Tyler Shandro spoke at a press conference on Thursday morning to announce the province’s plans to bring rapid testing to some of its most vulnerable communities.

He states that rapid testing is especially helpful in areas where there are known outbreaks as a way to stop the spread of the virus.

“Alberta’s COVID-19 testing program is critical to managing and preventing the spread of the virus in our communities,” he said.

“Bringing rapid point-of-care testing directly to the locations where it can help protect the health of the most vulnerable Albertans is an important addition to our provincial testing system.”

Rapid testing will be brought to homeless shelters, rural hospitals, and long-term care centres beginning with the latter in Edmonton on the week of December 21, using mobile testing centres.

Designated supportive living centres outside the Calgary and Edmonton zones will see the mobile testing centres shortly after, the release states.

Rapid testing has already been seen at the Calgary Drop-In Centre and Edmonton’s Isolation Facility as of December 7.

“Having COVID-19 testing in-house is incredibly valuable for us to monitor the health of our clients and protect our staff and the public as we manage outbreaks at our facility,” said Sandra Clarkson, executive director of the Calgary Drop-In Centre, in the release.

“I extend my gratitude and thanks to Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services for recognizing the need to prioritize our community’s homeless population and for the government’s continued support throughout this pandemic.”

It is expected that the rapid point-of-care tests will be seen in 25 rural Alberta hospitals by January, where patient samples are currently required to be transported to a central facility for processing.

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