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N.W.T. deploys COVID-19 rapid testing devices across territory

The N.W.T. government deployed 21 COVID-19 rapid testing devices in six communities with more to come, it says. The devices will deliver 'on-the-spot testing for COVID-19 and ensure rapid results to support a quick public health response.'

6 communities have them now, more to be delivered to other places in coming weeks

Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer of the N.W.T. said getting tested for COVID-19 as soon as symptoms appear 'is absolutely critical.' The COVID-19 rapid testing devices the N.W.T. government distributed across the territory will enhance the territory's testing capacity. (Kate Kyle/CBC)

New COVID-19 rapid testing devices that can deliver presumptive results in as little as 15 minutes have been distributed in six communities in the Northwest Territories since Monday, the territorial government announced in a news release Wednesday.

It said 21 rapid testing devices were distributed in Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, Norman Wells, Behchokǫ̀ and Fort Simpson. The government said it is planning to deliver more devices in other communities in the coming weeks.

The government said the devices can process 25 tests a day.

"These devices allow healthcare providers to deliver on-the-spot testing for COVID-19 and ensure rapid results to support a quick public health response," the release states.

It also says that those who get tested will get a "second confirmation swab" that will be sent for confirmation at labs in Yellowknife's Stanton Territorial Hospital or in Inuvik.

Getting tested 'absolutely crucial'

Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer of the N.W.T., said in the release that getting tested for COVID-19 as soon as symptoms appear "is absolutely crucial."

"It's the best way to identify cases, trace contacts, and isolate those at-risk immediately."

Having rapid test results will also allow territorial residents to get back to their lives more quickly, according to the release.

"Residents who haven't travelled within 14 days or been exposed to COVID-19 can return to regular activities after they receive a negative COVID-19 result, they have no fever and when their other symptoms improve," the release reads.

"As we move toward the holidays, with higher chances of any of us being exposed to COVID-19 than ever before, doing your part and getting assessed is what will keep our communities safe, and our territory stable as we finally see glimpses of light at the end of this tunnel," said Kandola.

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