Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro makes the rapid testing announcement Thursday (Dec. 17) at the Calgary Drop-in Centre. (Supplied, Government of Alberta)
The Province of Alberta is expanding access to rapid COVID-19 testing across the province, and one of the new testing centres is the Peace River Community Health Centre. The increased access to testing is targeted to reach Albertans in homeless shelters, long-term care facilities and remote rural communities.
Outside of the Calgary and Edmonton Zones, the Peace River site will be one of 25 rural hospital sites to which systems will be deployed in the coming weeks. Minister of Health Tyler Shandro says testing at the extra locations will focus on people who are showing symptoms and prioritize speed of confirmation.
“These 25 sites were chosen based on their location in rural and remote communities based on transport time to a lab that processes rapid tests, the volume of tests required, and the population’s need for them. It means we can identify positive cases within hours.”
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 starting December 18th. Mobile testing centres are expected to be ready and prepared for deployment in the Calgary zone starting the week of December 21st.
Expansion to long-term care and designated supportive living facilities outside Edmonton and Calgary zones is expected to follow shortly after.
More than 1,000 people have thus far received rapid tests at assessment centres and hospital locations in Alberta to date, including 76 positive cases who were notified within hours of being tested.
The other locations at which rapid testing systems will be deployed include Cardston, Pincher Creek, Brooks, Oyen, Wetaskiwin, Drayton Valley, Drumheller, Rocky Mountain House, Castor, Coronation, Wabasca, Edson, Cold Lake, St. Paul, Elk Point, Westlock, Barrhead, Provost, Lac La Biche, Camrose, Wainwright, Hinton, Two Hills and Vegreville.