Manitoba premier to provide update on COVID-19 rapid testing

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister will update ‘Tobans Thursday about rapid testing in the province.

The press conference will be at 11 a.m. Global News will livestream it here.

As of November, the province had only received a handful of rapid processing tests for the novel coronavirus.

Read more: COVID-19: Manitoba’s rapid test devices expected to speed up testing in remote areas

A handful of remote communities received rapid test devices for COVID-19, where transportation and weather issues were more likely to slow results.

Swan River, The Pas, Churchill, Thompson, Lynn Lake, Gillam and Flin Flon all got some of the Abbott ID NOW testing devices, as per public health advice.

Two of the 13 devices were sent to Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital to help manage an outbreak there, while one was kept by Manitoba officials to learn how the tests can be used most effectively.

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Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor expects initial vaccine procurement from feds to be in ‘very short supply’

The province had supplies for 4,000 tests at the beginning of November.

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A few weeks later, Health Minister Cameron Friesen called for Manitoba to be a priority to receive more tests., saying the health-care system is being strained due to high numbers.

“The rapid testing, deployed strategically, could be a game-changer,” Friesen told delegates at the PC Party’s AGM on Nov. 22. “And that is why it’s up to the feds right now to make sure that Manitoba should be at the front of the line, considering our case positivity rate, to be eligible on a priority basis to receive and deploy these devices.”

At the beginning of November, Health Canada approved the first Canadian-made rapid COVID-19 test, and it comes from a fairly new company in Guelph, Ont.

Read more: Manitoba PCs defend COVID-19 response, ask for priority rapid test supply amid rising numbers

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Precision Biomonitoring said its Triplelock test strips have been developed and manufactured in southern Ontario and received approval from the federal regulator.

The company said its system can provide accurate results on-site for nine nasal swab samples in just 60 minutes. This is ideal for remote work sites such as mining and Indigenous communities.

Thomas said some communities are forced to ship swabs to cities and in some cases, it can take up to 10 days to get results. His company’s test eliminates all of that.

“The testing is done on-site. We have battery-operated instruments and it can be set up basically anywhere,” he said.

-With files from Will Reimer, Matt Cardy and The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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