News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

October 19, 2020

Province Partners with Doctors Manitoba to Expand COVID-19 Testing Capacity

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Physicians to Provide COVID-19 Testing at Community Clinics: Friesen

The Manitoba government and Doctors Manitoba are working together to enable COVID-19 testing at community medical clinics by physicians, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.
“Having community-based doctors’ offices offering COVID-19 testing is another way in which we are boosting screening capacity in Manitoba,” Friesen said. “Our government has expanded screening capacity in the past weeks, adding new sites in Winnipeg and Brandon, expanding the ability for other health-care workers to be deployed to screening sites and reducing wait times for a COVID-19 test. We are pleased to be partnering with Doctors Manitoba to provide Manitobans with yet another option to get tested.”
Dakota Medical Centre at 17-845 Dakota St. in Winnipeg will be the first to introduce dedicated COVID-19 testing in community clinics. Testing at this location will become available in the coming days and more information about how to access testing will be available soon, the minister added.
“Doctors understand how important it is for Manitobans to have timely access to COVID-19 testing and that’s why physicians are stepping up to open their clinics to add more testing capacity,” said Dr. Cory Baillie, president, Doctors Manitoba. “Doctors Manitoba and the provincial government are working together to support medical clinics in offering testing, with all the necessary precautions in place.”
Public health staff has worked with participating clinics to ensure protocols are in place to separate patient testing from regular medical appointments. This includes additional daily disinfection and separating testing from regular appointments by offering it after hours or in a separate area of the clinic. Physicians and staff will also be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. These measures will ensure clinics can provide testing separately while also providing safe, ongoing medical care for their existing patients.
The initial rollout of community clinic physician testing will focus on clinics that provide capacity to parts of the province that need it, with the opportunity to bring more clinics on board as future needs are identified.
The Manitoba government is also working to reduce wait times at testing locations by introducing an appointment-based scheduling system. Manitobans who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will be able to call or go online to schedule an appointment to be tested. The appointment system, including details on how to schedule appointments by phone or online, will be rolled out in the next few weeks.
The province has collaborated with Red River College to develop a micro-credential training option to expand further the pool of providers able to collect COVID-19 specimens (e.g. nasal swabs) for testing. A range of providers including occupational health professionals, physiotherapists, health-care aides, students in health-care programs, foreign-trained nurses and doctors, and others are eligible to take the training. Program intake begins today, registration is now open and new intakes will be offered weekly. 
In addition to ongoing investments in testing, the provincial government has requested authority from the Manitoba legislature to spend an additional half-a-billion dollars on its COVID-19 response to protect Manitobans, Premier Brian Pallister announced Oct. 9. The supplementary appropriation would provide government departments the additional spending authority for $577 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year. 
“As the government continues to respond to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Winnipeg, our top priority remains protecting Manitobans,” said Friesen. “Manitobans can have confidence that, in the coming days and weeks, we will be continuing to open new screening sites, train and deploy workforce, and strengthen our public health contact tracing efforts.”
For more information on COVID-19 testing, visit
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