Province increases rapid testing for long-term and supportive living staff

by Stephen Dafoe

After what the government says was a successful rollout of rapid tests to test symptomatic residents and staff in continuing care outbreaks, the province says it will now provide rapid tests all long-term care and supportive living facility operators to screen their asymptomatic staff on a routine basis.

The government says three facilities will start rapid testing as early as next week, after which the program will spread to cover 36,000 staff in Alberta’s facilities.

“Rapid tests have been successfully used in outbreaks, hospitals and homeless shelters, said Health Minister Tyler Shandro in a media release Tuesday.

To date, rapid testing has bene put in place at 33 COVID-19 assessment centres, 29 hospitals, seven homeless shelters. Additionally, there are a number of mobile testing facilities testing residents and staff of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities where those facilities have been identified as potential outbreak sites.

Morinville’s Aspen House is still identified as being in Outbreak status. Morinville Online / Morinville News has not been able to get information from the province on the number of cases at the facility.

Suncor Energy’s base plant in Fort McMurray and the First Nation and Métis community of Fort McKay have also received 7,000 rapid tests. The pilots will test roughly 325 workers twice per week for a 10-week period.

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