Ontario Premier Doug Ford says a deal announced by the Canadian government to buy millions of rapid coronavirus tests is “a game changer” as the province looks to build testing capacity amid a second wave of COVID-19.
Ford has been pushing for rapid testing to become available in the province. Recently, there have been reports of hours-long lineups at assessment centres and delayed results.
“There’s no one that’s been jumping up and down screaming for the rapid tests more than I have,” Ford said during a press conference Tuesday.
His remarks came after the federal government announced a deal to buy 7.9 million kits with American company Abbott. However, the deal is reliant on approval from Health Canada.
Ford said he’s confident it will be approved soon.
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“I know everyone is going to be working hard. All we need is answers,” he said.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said the rapid test would help the province increase overall capacity and assist in ensuring results come back in a timely manner.
Ford hinted that the tests could be available at pharmacies.
“People are going to be able to go to additional pharmacies — different locations that have the testing equipment and get answers within minutes rather than days,” he said.
Ford thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland for their work on the deal with Abbott. He said he had conversations with them over the phone prior to the announcement Tuesday.
Ontario has completed around 40,000 COVID-19 tests each day for the past few days and hopes to reach 50,000 per day soon; a total of 3,887,712 have been conducted.