July 9, 2020

Winnipeg
20° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Close this

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Four communities get COVID-19 testing machines

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer says Northern communities will receive COVID-19 testing machines first because the they provide fast results but can't perform mass testing.</p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer says Northern communities will receive COVID-19 testing machines first because the they provide fast results but can't perform mass testing.

The Free Press has made this story available free of charge so everyone can access trusted information on the coronavirus.

Support this work and subscribe today

Northern communities in Manitoba will receive COVID-19 testing machines that can deliver results in as little as an hour.

A GeneXpert testing machine will be used at hospitals in Norway House, Thompson and The Pas. A fourth has been installed at the hospital in Hodgson, which isn't in the north but serves Peguis First Nation.

The machine, which costs about $23,000, can process just under 100 tests in 24 hours. Results are obtained on-site rather than having to send tests to outside labs.

Northern communities are getting them first because the machines provide fast results but can't perform mass testing, said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial health officer.

"In places where there might be a remote factor, where self-isolation within the community is quite difficult, there might be significant benefit to getting a test result back right then, so we can work out ways to isolate that individual," he said Thursday.

Eventually, the machines may be installed in non-remote areas, Roussin said, noting the province will look into it as more testing kits are made available. The test is about equal in terms of accuracy with the tests performed at the Cadham Provincial Lab in Winnipeg.

GeneXpert machines are in use across Canada. In Nunavut, a GeneXpert machine has been set up in Rankin Inlet, and one was already in place in Iqaluit, most often used for tuberculosis testing.

Dr. Michael Isaac, the medical officer of health for the Northern Regional Health Authority, said he believed Manitoba has been "fairly aggressive" in getting the GeneXpert machine into the province.

"I think we might be a couple weeks or a few weeks behind some other places, but I think for the most part we’ve been able to very quickly acquire the device," he said.

malak.abas@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: malakabas_

Malak Abas

Malak Abas
Reporter

Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us