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The use of rapid test in Manitoba for detecting the COVID-19 virus

  • On Thursday May 13th,  in Estimates, I  asked  the Minister  of Health  about the use of rapid tests  in Manitoba.  This question was prompted  by a recent report that  the province had  obtained 1  million rapid  tests  from the federal government but only  used about one  tenth of these.  

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Yes, I'll ask a question. If the minister can't answer it right away, perhaps she can provide an answer at the beginning of the next Health Estimates.

      The question is this: How many of the 1 million rapid tests which the government was provided with have been used and what are the government's plans to use the remainder of the rapid tests?

Mrs. Stefanson: I think just while we're getting the actual figures–I know we're getting close to the end of our time for today, but what I did want to say to the member is that rapid tests are being used in pilot projects. We've used them in personal-care homes in the past. We've used them for teachers and we've used them in child-care facilities. We've utilized them in various businesses in the way of pilot projects as well.

      We're looking for more partnerships in the com­munity and we're in certain–we're in discussions with various members of the business community and other ways that we can utilize these rapid testing.

      We know that there's a difference between, you know, some of the rapid tests that we have access to: some are more effective than others. And I won't get into the details on that, but I know that Dr. Roussin has spoken out about those, some of the challenges with some of the tests.

      But certainly there was a time where we were not really at capacity in terms of our PCR testing and so it was sort of deemed to be better for us to access the–more of the PCR testing for some of these individuals rather than utilizing the rapid testing.

      So when our numbers were lower, we were not doing as many of those tests, just because there simply was not the demand for it. We were using more of the PCR tests at that time.

      And so, certainly, I can endeavour to get the final numbers, you know, in terms of the million that–I don't believe it is 1 million, but, you know, certainly I can get a breakdown to the member as to where those rapid tests have gone.




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