Provincial lab experiencing COVID-19 testing backlog

By | March 23, 2020

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s provincial testing lab is experiencing a COVID-19 backlog.

According to Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, the backlog is due to a shortage of a certain reagent that’s needed to do the tests. The shortage is worldwide, but the provincial lab is now making its own.

Dr. Roussin said previously the lab has done 400-500 tests each day. He did not release details on the length of the backlog.

“They do have, over the last few days, a back log which they are moving towards addressing and hopefully up and running at full capacity this week.”

In terms of whether enough testing is being done in the province, chief nursing officer Lanette Siraguse said there are a number of ways healthcare workers can see the impacts of virus, noting there are still low levels of emergency room visits.

“We aren’t seeing COVID-19 in our hospitals at this time,” she said.

In total, there have been over 4,300 COVID-19 tests completed in Manitoba. Health officials said results for health-care workers, people in hospitals or long-term care homes, and First Nations residents will be the priority.

Home-care workers will also now be screening clients over the phone before going into their homes to check if they’re at risk of exposure to COVID-19.

– With files from CTV’s Michelle Gerwing and the Canadian Press’ Kelly Geraldine Malone.

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