Feds promise help for surging COVID-19 test demand but won't OK rapid-test tech yet

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising to do more to help provinces respond to soaring demands for COVID-19 testing but there is still no indication of when the government will approve the tests that can deliver results in mere minutes.

The promise of aid for testing comes in the speech from the throne read in Ottawa today.

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Canadians across the country are finding it harder to get tested for COVID-19, as demand soars and the capacity to swab people and test those swabs in labs is maxed out.

A Health Canada spokesman says the department is making it a priority to review six proposals for rapid-testing systems but that none has yet been approved.

The government says in the throne speech that as soon as the tests are approved it will do everything it can to deploy them quickly.

But two Ottawa public health experts say the rapid tests can help reduce the burden on the system even if they aren't as accurate as the government would normally like.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.

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