Province announces changes to COVID-19 testing process for healthcare workers

By | April 11, 2020

WINNIPEG — Manitoba health officials announced on Saturday that changes are being implemented to the process of testing healthcare workers for COVID-19.

Lanette Siragusa, Shared Health’s chief nursing officer, said beginning on Saturday, symptomatic healthcare workers no longer need to go through staff health before going for testing. Now they can go directly to the testing site, show their ID, say they’re symptomatic and get swabbed right there.

“What we would ask is that you connect with staff health after that, so we can ensure that you get your reports back and any follow-up that’s required,” she said, noting they’ve added more staff to occupational health.

TESTING SITES STILL OPEN ON LONG WEEKEND

Siragusa noted that on Friday, testing sites were not seeing as many people as they normally would. She said sites in Flin Flon, Thompson and Portage la Prairie remain open during the holidays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., noting the Mount Carmel Clinic in Winnipeg is closed Easter Sunday.

“Everything else as far as we know is open for business with normal hours,” she said.

A full list of holiday hours at the testing can be found online.

THE NEED FOR VOLUNTEERS

Siragusa also said regional health authorities and healthcare facilities are looking for qualified volunteers to help with staff and patients.

She said they have volunteers helping out at testing sites, call centres and employee assistance programs.

“But going forward, there will also be opportunities to volunteer to help with administration functions, as well as roles that have face-to-face interaction with patients,” she said

“So, we’ll be reaching out to Volunteer Manitoba and other organizations in the days ahead, and we will be asking them to work with us to find volunteers that can help.

“We will eventually expand that request also to private and non-health based organizations. So to that end, if you are in Winnipeg, and you’re interested in volunteering, please go online. And if you live outside of Winnipeg, and you want to volunteer, you are welcome to call your local regional health authorities for more information. And all potential volunteers will be screened for COVID-19 and any other risks.”

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