Manitoba warns of 4-day turnaround for COVID-19 test results as province hits capacity

Manitoba has reached its capacity to process COVID-19 test specimens.

That capacity has been hit amid high demand for tests at COVID-19 collection sites, resulting in increased wait times for tests as well as test results, the province said in a Thursday afternoon news release.

As a result, it is expected that the current COVID-19 case counts are actually an underreporting across the province, the news release said. Manitoba reported 556 new cases on Thursday.

The current testing backlog is estimated to be more than 7,500 specimens.

The turnaround time for results of a COVID-19 test right now is four days or more, the province said.

People have reported waiting in line at Winnipeg testing sites for up to four or five hours in recent days, with high demand for COVID-19 testing as cases stemming from the rapdily spreading Omicron virus variant.

Only people who are experiencing COVID-19, cold or flu-like symptoms should go to a testing site, Thursday’s news release said.

Manitobans are also asked to be patient and kind to others in line as well as those working at the collection sites.

In an effort to prioritize testing for individuals with symptoms, the province says tests completed at provincial test sites are not valid for travel purposes, the province said.

Manitobans who need a test for travel purposes should go to a private provider rather than a provincial testing site.

The province is encouraging everyone to continue following public health orders, limit contact with others and focus on fundamentals to limit the spread of COVID-19.

That includes getting fully vaccinated or going for a third vaccine dose as soon as you are eligible, the province said.

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