COVID-19: Alberta shifts testing, high-risk cases prioritized

03/25/2020 04:00 |

COVID-19: Alberta shifts testing, high-risk cases prioritized

And as Dr. Hinshaw's message that seems to be kind of getting lost, naturally, in this COVID-19 issue is that, the most important thing that individuals can do is not get a test.

Previously, travellers who returned to Alberta from outside Canada were being tested.

On Monday morning, Alberta announced it will be taking a new approach to testing for COVID-19 that is going to prioritize groups at highest risk of local exposure and at-risk populations.

"This means, that if a person returned from overseas and experiences symptoms after seven days of self-isolating, they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days from the start of those symptoms".

People who are hospitalized with respiratory illness.

Healthcare workers with respiratory symptoms will also be tested starting later this week.

Anyone who develops minor symptoms must begin to self-isolate for 10 days from the start of those symptoms.

The Alberta government has added a temporary billing code to assure doctors are evenly paid for virtual visits.

According to the province, Alberta Health Services is working to ensure travellers receive proper advice on self-isolation and monitoring symptoms upon their return to Alberta. "People are running this equipment all day and night so we can use this equipment to its fullest potential", she said. She said some of those who've now tested positive would have had contact with patients. "It's unlikely we will be able to reach that kind of testing capacity, to be able to test all Albertans with mild symptoms", she said.

In British Columbia, provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry acknowledged concerns about that province's similar shift in testing.

Health officials have indicated going outside is okay if you are following their recommendations but those showing symptoms of COVID-19 need to self-isolate.

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