Manitoba

Winnipeg COVID-19 testing sites see long line ups as demand surges

Manitoba health officials are working on expanding COVID-19 testing capacity as many sites experienced long lines in recent days. 

Health officials working on solutions, chief public health officer says

There have been long line ups at COVID-19 testing sites in Winnipeg in recent days. (John Einarson/CBC )

Manitoba health officials are working on expanding COVID-19 testing capacity as many sites experienced long lines in recent days. 

Close to 40 people were lined up outside the testing site on St. Mary's Road Wednesday morning, while the Pembina Highway site had just as many people in line. 

A spokesperson for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said all testing sites in the city saw growing lineups this week due to a surge in people presenting at all Winnipeg COVID-19 testing centres.

The province's chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said the province is working on meeting the increased demand. However, one of the challenges is that many of the health care workers who were shifted to testing sites in April are now back at their regular jobs, he said. 

"Remember, in April, a lot of things were shut down. A lot of the healthcare system had people not doing their normal work," he said. 

"So ramping up sites, shifting people from other areas of work was very easy at that time. It's not so simple at this time."

Roussin said he couldn't commit to a timeline for expanding the testing capacity. 

"But in saying that, we know that come fall, come respiratory virus season, we're going to need to be able to increase our capacity for testing. And each region's working on that right now," he said. 

1,266 tests were processed Tuesday. The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 1.5 per cent on Wednesday, while 23 new cases were announced. 

There are currently 283 active cases in Manitoba and 1,190 individuals have recovered from COVID-19.

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