Alberta Health Services is partnering up with a Canadian technology company to enable rapid testing for COVID-19.

Spartan Bioscience is in the late stages of developing a hand-held device that can confirm test results for the virus in less than one hour.

AHS says the product will be used to support testing in rural and remote areas, including Indigenous communities, and will help eliminate the need for lab samples to travel to the nearest lab, which remains a logistical challenge.

As part of the $9.5 million contract, AHS will receive 250 handheld devices along with 100,000 testing kits to be distributed to healthcare facilities outside of urban centres Edmonton and Calgary.

The first shipment is expected to arrive next month.