Alberta limiting asymptomatic testing of COVID-19 to priority groups

COVID-19.
			By David Opinko	
		Eight of Alberta’s 146 new COVID cases are in South Health Zone				Sep 17 2020 3:46 PM

COVID-19. By David Opinko Eight of Alberta’s 146 new COVID cases are in South Health Zone Sep 17 2020 3:46 PM

The goal, health officials said Thursday, is to reduce testing wait times and speed up access to results. "COVID-19 is still here and is not going anywhere", Hinshaw said.

"The asymptomatic testing program has also helped our labs prepare for the large volume of testing we will need in the months ahead", Hinshaw said.

But she says asymptomatic cases are rare, as there are about seven positive cases out of 10,000 of those tests.

Since May 29, when the broad asymptomatic testing was introduced, the province completed about 233,000 such tests, with only 0.07 per cent returning positive - or, about 163 cases.

Pharmacies are also offering testing for Albertans without symptoms and no known exposure to COVID-19 and more information is available online.

"This is the best way to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of Albertans during the winter and flu season", Hinshaw said.

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Dr. Deena Hinshaw says voluntary asymptomatic tests will continue to be offered for priority groups.

Albertans with no symptoms or known exposures who had previously booked a test are still allowed to go.

Earlier this week, AHS confirmed the location of drop-in COVID-19 testing centre in Calgary had been moved to the former Greyhound Bus terminal, just off 14th Street, between Ninth Avenue and Bow Trail S.W.

Infections decreased slightly to 1,483 across Alberta as its two biggest cities go in the opposite direction.

Alberta's testing capacity has increased gradually since the pandemic began in March, and the province was a world leader in testing capacity during much of the past six months.

Alberta surpasses BC in all areas but one, given that its own total detected case count hit 16,274 on September 16, and has seen 254 COVID-related deaths, according to new numbers from the province.

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