COVID-19 testing in BC will soon be made more widely available, according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
In a statement on Monday, Henry explained the change in the province’s testing strategy.
“As the situation within BC evolves, our testing strategy evolves with it. Initially, our approach was to understand the source of transmission by testing returning travellers, in addition to using community surveillance testing through our ongoing influenza response,” said Henry.
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She added that as widespread transmission occurred, the province focused its testing on the most high-risk and vulnerable, including those in long-term care, critically ill, and healthcare workers.
Henry says testing is being used to “quickly identify and address any new community clusters and outbreaks that may emerge” in order to avoid another spike in new cases and continue to flatten the curve.
This means that “anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can now be assessed and tested through a physician, nurse practitioner or a local community collection centre,” said Henry.
She added that “while testing is now broadly available, not everyone needs a test. If you have no symptoms, the test has limited benefit.”
Health officials say that symptoms are similar to the flu or respiratory illness, which include a cough, fever, muscle aches, and shortness of breath.
“We are not through the storm. We must remain vigilant to protect loved ones, elders and all of our communities,” said Henry. “We will continue to take a slow and thoughtful approach, learning from other jurisdictions that are farther along, while staying alert to changes here in BC.”