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Mobile unit for COVID-19 testing planned for Winnipeg Wednesday

coronavirus test
Manitoba is increasing testing capacity as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise. Getty Images

After long lineups of frustrated people, more COVID-19 testing capacity is on the way for Winnipeg and Manitoba.

Dr. Jenisa Naidoo of Dynacare said a new mobile unit is planned for Wednesday, as well as three new testing sites — two in Winnipeg and one in Brandon — opening as early as mid-October, with their exact locations to be announced by the province.

The location of the new mobile unit, she said, is likely to be announced later on Monday.

Read more: Masks now mandatory in Winnipeg, surrounding areas

Naidoo said the company has been on a hiring blitz to get enough staff together to work at the new sites.

“Dynacare’s actually hiring staff as we speak, … recruiting for those three sites that are opening in October. That’s all new staff, not existing staff,” she said.

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“For the mobile unit, we actually have the staff already. It’s a smaller unit. It’s not going to have large capacity.

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“The walk-in sites planned for October, we’re looking to have capacity of 200 patients a day and then ramp up from there. We’re in the process of recruiting.

With winter on the way, Naidoo said Dynacare is planning to install plexiglass dividers in its waiting rooms to increase indoor capacity and decrease the number of people who have to brave the elements while waiting in line.

As of Monday morning, masks are mandatory in public in Winnipeg and 17 surrounding communities, as the province tries to get a hold on the rising number of positive coronavirus cases.

The ramped-up restrictions were announced Friday by Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin.

On Saturday, the province announced 65 cases, 56 of which were in Winnipeg. The following day, Manitoba saw 51 cases, 36 of which were in Winnipeg.

“This is a very important change,” said Roussin on Friday about the province’s move to Code Orange status.

“We need to begin to reduce the numbers of close contacts outside our homes. The more contacts each of us has puts each of us at risk.”

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“We need to ensure we are making careful choices about who we are spending time with, the nature of that time, as well as the amount of people.”

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