COVID-19 testing sees slow start in Flin Flon

Flin Flon's COVID-19 testing site is in operation, but the number of tests conducted at the site has built up slowly.

According to a provincial spokesperson, the COVID-19 testing facility in Flin Flon has tested 15 people through March 24. The site opened on March 17, with the site carrying out less than two tests a day on average.

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All testing sites across Manitoba are by referral only. Manitoba is only testing people returning from travel or connected with active COVID-19 cases.

Shared Health Manitoba and the Northern Health Region (NHR) have two other testing sites in northern Manitoba, operating in Thompson and The Pas. As of March 25, 35 tests have been competed at the Thompson test site, which opened a few days before Flin Flon. Numbers for The Pas have not been made available.

Manitoba completed 352 tests province-wide March 24, bringing the total to over 4,800 since the outbreak began. Between probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19, there are 35 people in Manitoba currently with the disease.

No COVID-19 cases have been reported from the NHR, the only regional health authority in Manitoba to have not had at least one case.

Manitoba chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Manitoba's Cadham Provincial Laboratory, where all Manitoba tests are being processed, is still working through a backlog of tests due to a worldwide lack of testing supplies and reagents. Thanks to some workarounds, Cadham is back at full capacity and Roussin expects the backlog to dissapear by March 27.

Anyone returning from travel outside of Manitoba is being asked by the provincial government to self-isolate for two weeks. COVID-19 symptoms include coughing, fever, difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

Residents who think they should get tested or have questions are encouraged to call the Health Links - Info Santé phone line at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257, or fill out an online questionnaire.

© Melita New Era