Federal government has limited ability to ramp up COVID-19 testing nationwide, say officials

Health care workers do testing at a drive-thru COVID-19 assessment centre.
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Date Published: April 21, 2020

Source: CBC

The key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 is to test all symptomatic individuals and trace their contact history. Like many countries, Canada is far behind in its COVID-19 testing rates and this is largely being attributed to testing criteria being set at a provincial and territorial level, with limited contribution from the federal government. Provinces, such as Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba are reserving tests for individuals sick enough to be admitted to hospital, long-term care residents, health care workers, indigenous people, those living in remote communities, and other vulnerable populations. Alberta on the other hand has the highest testing rates among all provinces because it is making tests available to anyone who is symptomatic. Epidemiologists have stated that the longer it takes for provinces to ramp-up their testing capacity, the longer the physical distancing measures will need to remain in place. In order to make an informed decision on when and how to open up the economy, there must be an understanding of the virus’s spread in the community. Some experts think Ottawa ought to provide some national standards for who should be tested in order to ensure all provinces are maximizing their testing capacities. 

Read the full article here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pandemic-covid-coronavirus-testing-1.5538781

Summary by: Hira Raheel