Calls getting stronger to make rapid tests more widely available in BC

Dec 10 2021, 9:14 pm

A petition to make rapid COVID-19 tests more widely available is gaining steam, as the BC Liberals echo that call ahead of the holidays.

The online petition has already gathered more than 11,000 signatures and urges politicians in power to “provide free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to every household in British Columbia.”

rapid test petition

PCR test petition/Change.org

A lot of supporters seem to be fed up with the way the province has handled the situation.

One person wrote, “I’m so tired of the suppression of COVID testing and information in this province. Rapid tests should be distributed to every household – not just for Horgan’s dinner parties!”

Another said, “These tests are being stockpiled into expiry. They should be made available to anyone wishing to screen themselves before the tests are garbage.”

The opposition BC Liberals are also calling for more availability.

shirley bond

Shirley Bond/ShirleyBondForBC/Facebook

“While rapid tests aren’t perfect, other jurisdictions have deployed them as an added layer of protection to help keep the public safe, and yet here in BC unless you’re on a film set or visiting a care facility, there’s no way for the public to access these important tools for pandemic protection,” said Interim Leader of the Official Opposition Shirley Bond. “There are millions of rapid tests, sent to B.C. by the federal government, sitting unused in storage right now that could be playing a key role in helping keep British Columbians safe from COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant.”

“As we move into winter and especially during the holidays, people throughout our province will be gathering with friends and loved ones indoors and having access to rapid tests would certainly help keep people safe and reduce anxiety,” said Bond.

bc covid-19 passport

Premier John Horgan stands with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in the background (BC Gov/Flickr).

Daily Hive was provided a statement from the BC government after asking for more details about the use of rapid testing in BC.

“BC’s testing policy and work is guided by the advice of the federal COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel and Dr. Bonnie Henry,” the statement read. “PCR tests are considered the gold-standard for COVID-19 testing in BC and are foundational to BC’s approach to detecting COVID-19. B.C.’s approach to testing increases the likelihood that those most at risk of contracting or transmitting the virus are tested immediately. This approach allows public health to detect COVID-19 cases early, which reduces transmission in our communities, and helps keep all of us safer from the virus. 

It goes on to say that BC has just under two million rapid tests right now and say they are widely available.

“The kits are provided at long term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities, and businesses can access the tests through the Safe Screen BC program. As well, non-profits, charities and Indigenous community organizations are receiving free tests through the Canadian Red Cross.”

The provincial government says “testing will continue to evolve based on epidemiology, testing capacity and methodology and our growing understanding of the virus.”

Amanda WawrykAmanda Wawryk

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