Canada’s coronavirus testing capacity can handle surge in demand: Tam

As Canada’s coronavirus numbers continue to rise, the country’s chief public health officer said she is confident testing capacity can withstand a second wave.

Speaking to the media Tuesday, Dr. Theresa Tam said she believes Canada’s capacity is beyond 60,000 tests per day. She added that officials are also looking to use more rapid testing.

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“There’s a lot of interest, including in the public health sector, for the easier-to-use rapid tests,” she said, adding that Canada does need to “augment the portfolio of testing capabilities.”

Demand for testing has surged in much of the country in recent days as schools and universities reopened and the number of positive cases began to surge, raising fears that a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has arrived.

“There maybe be other reasons that lineups occur in other spots,” Tam said. “Some of it might be human resources, for instance.”

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Tam said work is underway to recruit additional federal microbiology labs to take on COVID-19 testing in order to increase capacity.

“And so I think that’s something that we need to push hard at … The regulator in Health Canada has clarified that, of course, it is prepared to work hard to get us tests that are reliable and accurate as well, and so I think all of those aspects are being examined right now.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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