Provincial COVID-19 rapid testing expands to include vulnerable Albertans
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro makes the rapid testing announcement Thursday (Dec. 17) at the Calgary Drop-in Centre. Photo credit to Government of Alberta livestream.
EDMONTON, AB – More Albertans will soon have access to rapid testing for COVID-19.
The fast testing is being expanded across the province to reach Albertans in homeless shelters, long-term care facilities and remote rural communities.
Starting Friday, Dec. 18 rapid point-of-care testing will begin at long-term care and designated supportive living facilities in the Edmonton Zone using dedicated mobile testing centres.
Mobile testing centres are expected to be ready to deploy in Calgary Zone starting the week of Dec. 21. Mobile testing centres will be focused first on outbreak sites. Expansion to long-term care and designated supportive living facilities outside Edmonton and Calgary zones is expected to follow shortly after.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro says Alberta’s COVID-19 testing program is critical to managing and preventing the spread of the virus in our communities. “Bringing rapid point-of-care testing directly to the locations where it can help protect the health of the most vulnerable Albertans is an important addition to our provincial testing system.”
More than 1,000 people have received the rapid tests at assessment centres and hospital locations to date, including 76 positive cases who were notified about their result in a matter of hours.
- Alberta has completed 2.5 million tests on more than 1.5 million people since March 2020.
- Both rapid testing systems are being used on patients who are within the first seven days of expressing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Alberta Health Services has received more than 800,000 rapid tests from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Systems will be deployed in 25 rural hospital sites in the coming weeks. These include the acute care hospitals in: Cardston, Pincher Creek, Brooks, Oyen, Wetaskiwin, Drayton Valley, Drumheller, Rocky Mountain House, Castor, Coronation, Wabasca, Edson, Cold Lake, St. Paul, Elk Point, Peace River, Westlock, Barrhead, Provost, Lac La Biche, Camrose, Wainwright, Hinton, Two Hills and Vegreville.