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New equipment to double COVID-19 testing capacity

A $4.5-million investment in new virus detecting equipment and technology will help strengthen Alberta’s COVID-19 response. 

The funding includes a $1.7-million donation by Calgary Health Trust, with Alberta Health Services and the Government of Alberta making up the balance. This investment will increase COVID-19 testing from 7,000 to 16,000 tests per day, more than doubling Alberta’s maximum capacity for testing.

“Our ability to maintain COVID-19 testing capacity at the highest levels in Canada is critical to Alberta's Relaunch Strategy. I want to thank Calgary Health Trust and its donors for their generous contribution at this challenging time. Through continued support and ongoing vigilance, together we will slow the spread of the virus and reopen Alberta.” Jason Kenney, Premier
“With this new testing technology, Albertans have another way to help us flatten the curve and protect our most vulnerable citizens. By getting tested and providing invaluable data to health professionals, we can have the best possible information to guide and evaluate our relaunch actions.”Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
"Today, we celebrate the efforts of Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL) and the commitment of donors, knowing our fight is far from over. We will continue to be successful through collaboration with government and philanthropic partners like Calgary Health Trust. We are stronger together."Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services

APL is also expanding testing capacity by securing additional supplies including swabs and reagents, and taking steps toward achieving 24-7 testing.

 “As the charity partner for Calgary’s major hospitals and care centres, we are committed to making significant investments in areas that will have substantial impact on COVID-19 efforts. We’re working alongside Alberta Health Services daily to understand how the community can best support the pandemic response during these unprecedented times. We also know how important it is for our donors to show support for the hard-working health-care professionals who are our first line of defence against the virus.” Mike Meldrum, president and CEO, Calgary Health Trust

Albertans are also encouraged to download the ABTraceTogether app to help prevent community spread. The app is available to download free from the App Store and Google Play.

Quick facts

  • As of May 1, Alberta Precision Laboratories has completed more than 150,000 tests, making Alberta a national and international leader in per capita COVID-19 testing.

  • Alberta is currently averaging about 5,000 tests per day.

  • New equipment will be used in the future for other forms of virus testing, including for seasonable influenza.

  • The new equipment will be located at sites around the province where they are most needed to support enhanced public surveillance and testing activities.

  • APL is a subsidiary of Alberta Health Services, delivering high-quality diagnostic lab services to Albertans across our health-care system.

  • Calgary Health Trust’s $1.7-million contribution is part of its Clean Hands, Giving Hearts COVID-19 Response Fund.

Expanding testing capacity is one element of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy that must be in place before Alberta can begin to safely remove public health restrictions. For more information, visit alberta.ca/covid-19.

Provincial Press Release May 5, 2020 @ 3:47 PM

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