Months after premiers demanded the federal authorities step up approvals and deliveries of fast COVID-19 testing gadgets, CBC News has realized that hundreds of thousands of the checks delivered to provincial governments have been by no means used.
CBC News Network’s Power & Politics reached out to each province asking for the variety of checks it has acquired from the federal authorities and what number of of these checks have been used to this point. Only Saskatchewan was unable to offer detailed numbers by the point of publication.
The use of fast checks varies from province to province. Prince Edward Island has used the most important proportion of checks it was despatched by the federal authorities — 25 per cent of its 37,000 checks.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney pressured the federal authorities to hurry approval of fast checks again within the spring and threatened to accumulate the checks from different international locations if Health Canada didn’t approve them rapidly sufficient right here. Alberta has solely used 17,000 of the 1.9 million fast COVID-19 checks it has to date acquired by the federal authorities — simply 0.89 per cent of the overall.
“The direction I’ve given our officials is, if we see a highly credible regulator, medications in a peer jurisdiction like the European Union, Australia or the United States that has approved a test or a vaccine or medication, we should pursue that,” Kenney mentioned on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics in April. “We should not wait for Health Canada to catch up.”
While Alberta has used the smallest proportion of its obtainable checks, a CBC News evaluation reveals that different provinces have used solely a fraction of their stockpiles.
Quebec has solely used 0.92 per cent of its 2.6 million checks, whereas Newfoundland and Labrador has used 0.90 per cent of its 144,240 checks and Manitoba has used only one.49 per cent of its 620,376 checks.
Trudeau presses provinces for extra fast testing
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been encouraging the provinces to make use of the checks and mentioned testing throughout his name with the premiers final week, and once more throughout Wednesday morning’s press convention.
“We know that rapid testing, even right now with the variants spreading, is really important to get us to a place where we’re starting mass vaccinations with lower and lower case counts,” Trudeau mentioned.
“So as we’ve sent close to 20 million rapid tests across the country we’re really hoping and excited about the different ways and innovative, creative approaches to using them.”
Trudeau’s push for extra fast testing is no surprise, contemplating Nova Scotia has used solely 5.57 per cent of its 287,000 checks and New Brunswick has used solely 4.15 per cent of its 284,064 checks.
We can’t be wilfully ignorant when we’ve the instruments that may make clear what is going on on…– Dr. David Naylor
The numbers are higher in British Columbia — the place the provincial authorities has deployed 17.69 per cent of its 1.three million checks — and in Ontario, the place the province has used 18.47 per cent of its 5,413,872 checks.
Back in September, Ontario Premier Doug Ford known as on Health Canada to make approval of fast checks its “number one priority.”
“It’s pretty disappointing,” Dr. David Naylor, co-chair of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, advised Power & Politics Wednesday. “The case for these tests is strong … as a screening test. We have to hope that these catch on now in this important phase they find wide use.”
Every instrument within the toolbox
Naylor, who can also be a member of the federal authorities’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel, mentioned the fast checks haven’t been as correct as lab-based checks however they’re excellent at figuring out infectivity — the power of a virus to contaminate a brand new host.
“You have to conceive of them as a screening test. If you get a positive, you want to confirm it with the gold standard test still, but the point is we need the information,” he mentioned.
“We cannot be wilfully ignorant when we have the tools that can shed light on what’s going on in these settings where people are thrown together, where the risk of transmission is quite high.”
Dr. Irfan Dhalla, co-chair of the federal authorities’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel, advised Power & Politics host Vassy Kapelos that fast checks may be efficient instruments for screening folks within the office and in faculties.
Dhalla cited the instance of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, which used fast checks liberally throughout its current season and noticed not a single case of the illness in its group.
“We should be using every tool we have in our toolbox at this point in the pandemic to keep Canadians safe,” he mentioned.