BC Liberals urge province to tap into stockpile of COVID-19 rapid tests for use in care homes

Liberals urge rapid tests

The BC Liberals are urging the NDP government to use its stockpile of COVID-19 rapid tests to give more protection to those living and working in long-term care homes (LTC) and assisted living facilities.

“The B.C. government needs to follow the lead of other provinces which pre-emptively screen and test asymptomatic LTC staff to help prevent outbreaks before they can endanger our seniors. We must do everything we can to protect those most at risk of COVID-19,” says interim BC Liberal Leader Shirley Bond.

The request comes as a result of the recent rise in COVID-19 outbreaks in British Columbia's long-term care homes and assisted living facilities. It was reported that 1,364 residents and 669 staff having been infected with the virus in the province.

Despite receiving a stockpile of COVID-19 rapid tests in November, the Health Canada-approved rapid tests have seen limited use in care homes.

"While a systematic rapid testing program isn’t a silver bullet to stop all deaths in long-term care we need Premier Horgan to ensure that adequate resources are provided to put this additional layer of protection in place for the most vulnerable British Columbians,” Bond said.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday the province is "looking at" using the rapid tests in care homes. She previously said they were not being used because the tests "have faults and limitations."

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