covid testing canada

Canada says it finally has the supplies it needs to meet demand for COVID-19 testing

Amid widespread criticism of the slow rate of COVID-19 testing in some provinces, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shared some good news about how Canada is stepping up its game.

Since there have been issues securing enough of the necessary reagent chemicals, the federal government has signed a contract with a Canadian microbial monitoring company — which is now ramping up operations — to produce the much-needed chemicals in-house.

With its increased production, LuminUltra, based in New Brunswick, will soon be manufacturing enough test chemicals to "to meet the weekly demand in all provinces," Trudeau said at his press briefing on Wednesday.

Trudeau assured the public that we also received a new shipment of nasal swab kits for the virus this week, though there has been an ongoing global supply shortage of the much-sought-after products.

"Whether its reagents or test kits, we're ensuring Canada has the tools to fight this virus," he said, adding that he's set to speak with other G7 country leaders tomorrow to ensure that Canada is part of the strong and unified worldwide response to the pandemic.

So far in Canada, more than 462,000 individuals have been tested for the 2019 novel coronavirus, with a positivity rate of about 6 per cent. 

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Theresa Tam said Wednesday that despite concerns over testing in some areas of the country, "Canada continues to improve our testing to track where the disease is spreading."

Ontario in particular has been under fire for having the lowest per capita testing rates in the country — at one point administering less than 3,000 tests total per day when capacity is around 13,000 — and for sending home a number of likely cases of the virus formally undiagnosed and thus undocumented due to stringent testing criteria.

The province stopped testing symptomatic recent travellers last month, and like others, limited assessment exclusively to frontline healthcare workers and the elderly or otherwise immunocompromised. Thankfully, these guidelines are now being expanded all over the country, which will provide more accurate national COVID-19 data, among other obvious benefits.

Alberta, which already has the highest testing rate in the country, is among the provinces that have recently opened up COVID-19 assessment to anyone with symptoms of the infectious disease.

Lead photo by

New York National Guard/Wikimedia Commons

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