Coronavirus: Alberta to continue to test asymptomatic Calgary residents this week

Click to play video: 'Alberta health officials pursue asymptomatic COVID-19 testing' Alberta health officials pursue asymptomatic COVID-19 testing
WATCH ABOVE: There is a growing push to increase COVID-19 testing efforts, as more provinces begin to reopen. Heather Yourex-West explains why Alberta is taking the initiative to track down people who have the virus but are not showing any symptoms. – May 18, 2020

A spokesperson for Alberta Health says the province will continue to offer asymptomatic testing to residents of the Calgary zone as provincial health officials try to catch as many cases of the disease as possible.

“More than 6,000 Calgarians without symptoms have requested this testing,” said Jessica Lucenko, director of communications. “The lab has completed 1,500 to date. Additional asymptomatic tests are still to completed and we continue to offer it for the Calgary zone.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 testing is available to asymptomatic Calgarians working outside the home for one week

The May 17 deadline to sign up for asymptomatic testing has now passed, but Lucenko says those who have already signed up will be contacted for testing in the coming days, though priority for testing will go to those with symptoms.”

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

On Friday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health revealed that 50 of the first 1,500 tests processed had tested positive for COVID-19.

Story continues below advertisement

“It seems from this early information that the asymptomatic testing program in Calgary is helping us identify additional cases,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during the province’s daily COVID-19 update. “As we do further evaluation on possible locations of exposure, I will share more information.”

Robyn Adair was among the first group of asymptomatic people to be tested in Calgary.

The radio personality, who works for a Corus-owned station, the same company that owns Global News, said she decided to sign up for the program to ensure those around her were safe from the virus.

READ MORE: COVID-19 patient isolation could lead to mental health struggles: ICU doctor

“I work at the radio station every day and there’s just a handful of us, maybe five or 10 of us, but I just didn’t want to be that person (who) was an asymptomatic carrier and getting everybody else sick.”

Adair’s test came back negative.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases physician at the University of Toronto, said Alberta’s asymptomatic testing program will provide extraordinarily valuable data.”

“Surveillance in the general community is a very good idea, especially now because if there is a signal that is available, we can jump on that very quickly to prevent this from spiraling out of control and infecting lots of people.”


Sponsored content