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Thursday , 28 January 2021

Government to pilot rapid COVID testing in St. Paul and Bonnyville

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said St. Paul and Bonnyville will be used as pilot sites for point of care rapid testing in early December.

The announcement came Thursday afternoon during the province’s daily COVID update.

These two systems of tests, Abbott IDNow and PanBio, are meant to give a faster response within hours as to whether a patient may be COVID positive, the government said.

The IDNow tests will begin to be used at the COVID-19 assessment centres in St. Paul and at the hospital lab in Bonnyville, as well as Slave Lake.

The government said there are more than 100,000 tests and will be used on patients who are within the first seven days of expressing symptoms, allowing health officials to quickly identify positive cases at testing sites.

The government said this will reduce the need for patient samples to be transported to centralized public laboratories for processing.

Two swabs will be collected from each patient, and all negative tests from both systems will be subject to confirmation by the existing lab-based polymerase chain-reaction (PCR) testing method, the government said, “because a negative result is not as reliable as a PCR test and the test may miss some COVID-positive samples.”

These two point-of-care rapid testing systems will also be used at one assessment centre in Calgary and one assessment centre in Edmonton.

Seven new cases in Cold Lake area

Seven new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Cold Lake area on Thursday reflected on the province’s virus data map under “local geographic area.”

Active cases increased by two for a total of 64 active cases and 46 recovered in the Cold Lake area.

Three new cases are shown on the St. Paul local geographic area, which includes Saddle Lake, but active cases have fallen. There are 88 active cases and 156 recovered as of Thursday. Saddle Lake News, Events, and Information reports 29 active cases on the Nation.

Elsewhere in the Lakeland case numbers remain relatively the same to

There are 28 active cases in the Lac La Biche area and 17 recovered. Smoky Lake area shows 12 active cases and 24 recoveries, while Frog Lake area has six active cases and seven recovered.

Two Hills County now has six active cases and 22 recoveries.

Vermilion River County area has seven active cases and 28 recovered.

On Thursday, chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw confirmed 1,077 new cases after just under 16,000 tests were collected today.

There are 383 in hospital with 84 of those in ICUs.

Dr. Hinshaw said there is a seven per cent positivity rate.

Ten new deaths were reported on Thursday.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.