Province expands rapid COVID-19 testing to some businesses, service providers

Manitoba is providing asymptomatic COVID-19 rapid testing to some critical service providers and businesses.
An Abbott Laboratories Panbio COVID-19 rapid test device is displayed at a testing site at Dalhousie University in Halifax. The Manitoba government is providing COVID-19 rapid testing kits to select businesses and organizations in the province. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Manitoba is providing asymptomatic COVID-19 rapid testing to some critical service providers and businesses. 

Building on the "Fast Pass" rapid testing program currently in place for teachers, the province will provide a three-month supply of the tests to certain businesses and organizations, a news release from the province says. 

The province said it's giving the tests to industries and critical service providers that would benefit from routine testing because of geographic location, potential supply-chain or community impacts, or a workforce disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 

The initial round of tests will be provided to organizations including the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, the Manitoba Wildfire Service, Air Canada, agri-foods business Winkler Meats and Alamos Gold, a mining company in northern Manitoba.

They will be responsible for administering the tests and tracking the results, and must report test results to the province. 

Depending on results and how much uptake it gets, the province might provide rapid testing to more industries, such as construction or transportation, or look to implement other delivery models, such as pop-up screening, the news release says.

Rapid testing uses an antigen-based test using nasal swabs, which can be done by non-health-care professionals as they don't require going as far into the nasal cavity as a typical COVID-19 test. Red River College is providing a two-hour virtual training module on how to do them, the release says. 


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