News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 17, 2020

MANITOBA EXPANDS TESTING ACCESS FOR HEALTH-CARE WORKERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS

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Dedicated Site and Appointments for Health-Care Workers and First Responders will Provide Better Access to Testing for Front-Line Staff: Friesen

Manitoba will begin offering dedicated COVID-19 testing appointments for health-care workers and first responders this week that includes a partnership with the City of Winnipeg on a new dedicated testing site, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.
 
“Health-care workers have been on the front line of the fight against COVID-19, frequently placing themselves at greater risk of exposure to the virus in order to provide treatment and care for patients,” said Friesen. “Expanding access to timely testing recognizes their immeasurable importance to our health system fight against COVID-19.”
 
The drive-up testing site is expected to open Friday and will be located in the parking lot of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) training academy at 2546 McPhillips St. 
 
The site, which will be staffed by licensed WFPS paramedics not currently working in the field, is expected to be able to handle 40 to 60 tests per day, and will offer services for police officers, firefighters, paramedics and emergency communications personnel with the potential to also offer a limited number of slots to health-care workers. Appointments will be available Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
 
“The city identified the importance of prioritizing testing for its first responders and I’m pleased to see the province supporting that request,” said Mayor Brian Bowman, City of Winnipeg. “Having access to expedited testing helps ensure our first responders can safely limit time away and return to the front lines to serve those in need of help.”
 
In addition to the dedicated testing site, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) will open a limited number of testing appointments at the 2735 Pembina Hwy. and 604 St. Mary’s Rd. testing sites specifically for health-care workers and first responders. 
 
“Reserving a portion of every day’s testing appointments for health-care workers and first responders is about making it that much easier for those critical members of our community to get tested and hopefully, back to work as quickly as possible,” said Pat Younger, lead for community health services, WRHA. “The appointment-based system for COVID-19 testing that was introduced earlier this fall has proven to be a success in terms of improving patient flow at our testing sites and this step represents another positive advancement in those efforts.”
 
Health-care workers and first responders needing a COVID-19 test can book an appointment by calling 1-855-268-4318 (toll-free). Individuals will need to show their professional identification at the testing site to access their pre-booked appointment.
 
The new testing site, and the addition of dedicated appointments for health-care workers and first responders, are only the latest initiatives implemented to address increased demand for testing, the minister said.
 
Other initiatives include:
partnering with Doctors Manitoba to enable after-hours COVID-19 testing at select community medical clinics, beginning with the Dakota Medical Centre and the Minor Illness and Injury Clinic at Red River College’s Notre Dame campus; and 
collaborating with Red River College to develop a micro-credential training option to further expand the pool of providers able to collect COVID-19 specimens for testing.
 
Manitobans are reminded that only individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should go for testing. Individuals with symptoms are asked to seek testing as soon as possible. Employers are asked to only send employees for testing if they have symptoms or if testing has been recommended by public health officials.
 
The online assessment tool can be found at https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool.
 
A list of COVID-19 symptoms can be found at:
www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/updates/about.html#collapse4.
 
For more information on COVID-19 testing, visit www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/updates/testing.html.
 
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