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Red River College offering free COVID-19 nasal swabbing course

The COVID-19 Nasopharyngeal Sample Collection micro-credential course at Red River College is expected to help ease the strain on Manitoba's testing capacity.
The COVID-19 Nasopharyngeal Sample Collection micro-credential course at Red River College is expected to help ease the strain on Manitoba's testing capacity. AP Photo

A new tuition-free course being offered at Winnipeg’s Red River College is expected to help ease the strain on the province’s COVID-19 testing system.

The college says the micro-credential course can be completed in as little as five hours, and is designed to train health care workers or students to collect the nasal swabs used to test for the virus.

“As the college continues to evolve the ways it delivers education in the face of COVID-19, we are proud to offer this new micro-credential that will prepare our front line and students from a variety of health-care programs to help reduce the spread of the virus,” said Fred Meier, president and CEO of Red River College, in a news release.

Read more: Second pop up site opens as COVID numbers continue to rise in Manitoba

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The course is open specifically to:

  • students in at least the second year of one of the following:
    • registered nursing
    • licensed practical nursing
    • psychiatric nursing
    • medicine at the University of Manitoba including medical students and physician assistant students
  • students enrolled in an approved paramedicine or respiratory therapy program
  • people qualified to practice in one of the following regulated health professions in jurisdictions outside Manitoba or Canada:
    • registered nursing
    • licensed practical nursing
    • psychiatric nursing
    • medicine
  • health-care aides
  • medical laboratory tehnologists
  • occupational therapists
  • physiotherapists
  • pharmacists

Read more: Manitoba sets another new record for daily coronavirus cases, sees 2 more deaths Wednesday

“The reason for (those prerequisites) is all of these individuals have very specific foundational knowledge and expertise,” said ReaAnn Thibeault, executive director, Academic, at RRC.

“For example, you need to know about anatomy and physiology, you need to have a good background in microorganisms and universal precautions.”

The course consists of a three-hour theory component and a two-hour hands-on lab.

Read more: Manitoba premier says new testing sites, staff will cut COVID-19 lineups

The announcement Wednesday comes on the same day a ministerial order takes effect which enables more health care professionals and students in related programs to perform the test.

It also coincides with a number of other measures the province has recently announced to cut down on testing lineups, including two new testing sites in Winnipeg and one in Brandon which will open in several weeks, and the development of an appointment-based scheduling system, which will also roll out in a few weeks.

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Read more: Mobile unit for COVID-19 testing planned for Winnipeg Wednesday

The new micro-credential will initially train up to 30 students a week and could add capacity as required, the college says.

Registration is already open and the intake will happen weekly, beginning on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020.

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