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Don’t get too confident about COVID-19 numbers — just do more testing: Winnipeg epidemiologist

In this April 3, 2020, photo, a technician holds blue preservation solution in a clean room where saliva collection devices are assembled at Spectrum DNA in Draper, Utah. The company has developed a test kit to detect the coronavirus in patients' saliva. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Two of the last three days have seen zero new cases of the novel coronavirus in Manitoba, but according to a local epidemiologist, it’s too soon to get excited about the numbers.

Cynthia Carr of EPI Research told 680 CJOB it’s positive news that there have been a low number of new cases in the past few days, but the more testing is done in Manitoba, the better.

“In epidemiology, we’re always being a little bit careful about making comments about short-term data points, because when we look at time trends, things can go up and down a little bit.”
“I’m sure it was tough for a lot of us over Easter, but we did what we were told because it matters, and we are seeing a difference.’
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Carr said the nature of this virus is tricky in that you can have it for a couple of weeks before it presents itself, and in some people it never will be apparent, making widespread testing more important.

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“We always have to look at: what do we have for resources in terms of the actual test, the actual staff we have to take the tests on the front end, and then, of course, the lab capacity to analyze the test.
“When we look at good resource allocation, testing and testing early is one of the key impacts in terms of managing spread.”
Earlier this week, the province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said Manitoba has obtained a new rapid coronavirus test and was beginning the validation process before rolling it out to hospitals.
Click to play video 'Manitoba says COVID-19 testing will expand as needed' Manitoba says COVID-19 testing will expand as needed
Manitoba says COVID-19 testing will expand as needed – Apr 14, 2020
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