Provincial Press Release February 9, 2021 @ 11:05am published at 2:20pm
Rapid testing will be used to screen asymptomatic staff at all long-term care and supportive living facilities in Alberta and a new rapid testing pilot has been launched at two Suncor sites.
Following the successful rollout of rapid tests to test symptomatic residents and staff in continuing care outbreaks, Alberta will provide thousands of rapid tests to operators of all long-term care and supportive living facilities in Alberta to routinely screen their asymptomatic staff.
Three long-term care sites will start rapid testing in their facilities as early as next week. The program will eventually be expanded, with the goal of reaching all 36,000 staff in facilities across Alberta.
In addition, Alberta has provided 7,000 rapid tests for a pilot at Suncor Energy’s base plant in Fort McMurray and the First Nation and Métis community of Fort McKay. Led by Creative Destruction Labs (CDL), these pilots will test approximately 325 workers twice per week, for 10 weeks.
“Rapid tests have been successfully used in outbreaks, hospitals and homeless shelters. Expanding rapid tests to help keep the 36,000 staff safe who take care of Alberta’s seniors is the next logical step. The Suncor pilot is also an exciting development and a critical first to what I hope will be many private sector employers embracing rapid tests to restart the economy.” Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
“Regular staff surveillance testing is a critical tool in the effort to protect our residents and employees from the pandemic. Revera is excited to have the opportunity to work with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services to offer frequent testing to employees in its long-term care homes and retirement residences in Alberta.” Dr. Rhonda Collins, chief medical officer, Revera
“The partnership between the Government of Alberta and Suncor to make its workplaces safer through rapid antigen screening is one of the most important paths through this pandemic.” Ajay Agrawal, founder, Creative Destruction Lab
“Suncor sees rapid screening as another layer of protection against COVID-19 for essential workers. These pilots are taking place across the country as part of the CDL rapid screening consortium and aim to provide early detection of infectiousness to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reopen the economy.” Marc Mageau, senior vice-president, Refining and Logistics, Suncor
Rapid testing in Alberta
Rapid testing has already been deployed at:
33 COVID-19 assessment centres
Seven homeless shelters
Mobile testing facilities that test residents and staff of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities identified as potential outbreak sites.
More than 1,000 health-care workers at all sites have been trained to administer the rapid testing systems.
Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system.