Alberta asks federal government for 30M more rapid tests over next 3 months
Alberta has asked the federal government for 30 million rapid tests over the next three months and has procured 10 million from another source, which have started to arrive, Health Minister Jason Copping said Friday.
"We've asked the federal government for 10 million tests monthly, January, February and March," he said during an update on COVID-19 numbers in the province.
"We've also just procured directly, and additional 10 million tests, we received a portion of that this week and then over the next three weeks we'll receive the remainder and we are procuring more tests.
"We have more coming, we're getting them out as quickly as we can. We encourage all Albertans to check the website to see what's available."
Albertans looking for rapid tests can see on the province's website where they are available at pharmacies and Alberta Health Services locations.
In a statement, the province said the first million of the 10 million tests arrived this week, "and three million are scheduled to arrive every week through to mid-January."
"This will add to the more than four million rapid tests for which we have confirmed shipping dates from the federal government," it read.
"This means that throughout January, nearly 15 million tests will be available across the province for all Albertans to use, including yesterday’s announcement that 4.3 million tests will be provided to K-12 schools the week of Jan. 10, with an additional 4.3 million to follow later in January."
Tests are shipped daily to AHS sites and to pharmacies, "when available."
"The availability of additional supplies to pharmacies may be limited in the first part of January due to anticipated delivery dates from manufacturers and Health Canada," read the statement.
Those who are asymptomatic are encouraged to use rapid tests in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially the Omicron variant. If it is positive and you are fully-vaccinated, you should isolate for five days or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. Those who are unvaccinated should isolate for 10 days or until they are feeling better, whichever is longer.
Anyone who lives or works in a health care or high risk setting, like congregate care — places like long-term care, designated supportive living or a shelter — should book a PCR test if a rapid test is positive.
Tests are limited to one kit per person, every two weeks and each kit contains five rapid tests. They are also not acceptable for use as a negative result under the Restrictions Exemption Program.
Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Friday the latest numbers from the province show there are about 21,000 active cases of COVID-19, "that we know about," but the actual number is much higher.
"In previous waves of the pandemic, we believe our PCR testing program captured about one-in-four cases of COVID-19," she said. "In the fourth wave, that changed to about one-in-six. As more individuals who are symptomatic or have been exposed to the virus test themselves at home with rapid antigen tests, that ratio is dropping even more with the Omicron variant."
Calgary Top Stories