Manitoba will soon open six new COVID-19 testing sites — including two in Winnipeg, where hours-long waits have been reported at some sites — Premier Brian Pallister said Thursday.
“Two large drive-thru testing sites are coming online in the next few days,” in Winnipeg, Pallister said.
One site, at 1066 Nairn Ave., will open next week, he said, and another at 125 King Edward St. E. will open the week after next.
Another Brandon site will open at the Keystone Centre the week after next, and additional sites are also slated for Dauphin, Portage la Prairie and Winkler, he said.
The announcement comes as Winnipeggers report long lineups and hours-long waits at testing sites, including the city’s only drive-thru location on Main Street.
Public health officials have previously vowed to tackle the lengthy waits for a swab. On Thursday, Pallister said the province is looking at additional options, including considering online booking and plans to expand hours at sites.
A new training course on swabbing, and possibly contact tracing, will launch on Oct. 19 at Red River College, Pallister said, in an effort to bolster a workforce that is experiencing burnout.
The course will take “not long” to complete, he said.
‘Testing, tracing, turnaround time’
Thursday marked Manitoba’s second-highest daily tally of new COVID-19 cases, with 67 reported in the province, including 57 in Winnipeg.
Pallister promised an announcement next week on contact tracing in the province, which he said is uneven and, in some cases, takes too long.
He said the government has to prepare for the long haul, including the potential of another wave of COVID-19 down the line.
“That means better and faster testing, tracing, turnaround time,” he said. “All three categories, and more.”
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