O’Toole family tested for COVID-19 under Commons program after long Ottawa lines stymie them

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole says he and his family had to give up on getting a COVID-19 test in Ottawa amid long lineups outside assessment centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says the federal government is causing a COVID-19 disaster by not moving more quickly to approve rapid testing methods that are already in use in other countries.

O’Toole and his family were tested this morning for COVID-19 through a program for MPs, after waiting for several hours to be tested in Ottawa Wednesday and having to give up.

Read more: Ottawa COVID-19 testing site opening 11.5 hours daily as pressure mounts to shorten lines

O’Toole, his wife Rebecca and their children Mollie and Jack are all in isolation after an O’Toole staff member he was travelling with tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

Demand for COVID-19 testing has skyrocketed this week as kids returned to school and in Ottawa some people are waiting up to six hours for testing, if they can get in at all.

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O’Toole says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has to explain why Health Canada still has not approved rapid testing devices seven months into the pandemic, when many other countries, including the United States, have deemed them safe and effective.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Wednesday that Ottawa is reviewing applications for rapid testing devices but will not approve them until they meet Canada’s standards for accuracy.

Click to play video 'Long lineups at COVID-19 testing sites across Canada' Long lineups at COVID-19 testing sites across Canada
Long lineups at COVID-19 testing sites across Canada – Sep 16, 2020