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Ontario government introduces rapid COVID-19 tests to be deployed in high transmission regions

Last Updated Nov 24, 2020 at 8:39 pm EST

As part of an effort to keep frontline workers safe, the Ford government announced new COVID-19 rapid tests to provide faster results in regions of high transmission and rural and remote areas.

Doug Ford and Christine Elliott announced on Tuesday that the rapid tests will also be used to screen staff in long-term care homes and select workplaces.

“These new rapid tests are gamechangers in the fight against COVID-19,” said Premier Ford.

“This new technology can provide test results in hours, even minutes, instead of days. We’re deploying them as quickly as possible to protect patients, long-term care residents, and the frontline heroes who care for them.”

“These new tools will ensure that Ontario remains the leader in testing in Canada to help stop the spread of this deadly virus,” the premier added.

RELATED: Ford announces COVID vaccine task force: ‘We will get vaccines to every part of this province’

Ford said the government has received approximately 98,000 ‘ID NOW’ tests that are currently being used in hospitals and assessment centres in rural and remote communities.

The rapid tests are also being used as part of early outbreak investigations in hotspot regions where there are high concentrations of COVID-19 cases.

“Our government strongly advocated for the approval of these rapid tests to help provide timely access to testing for Ontarians who need it the most,” said Elliott.

Last week, Ford said the province had received the shipment and teased the announcement.

The reveal comes as Ontario’s government expresses optimism regarding the progress of a number of vaccines reported to be highly effective in protecting people from COVID-19.

Elliott and Ford have since said that Canada will acquire millions of vaccine doses by early 2021.

Pfizer, Moderna Inc., and most recently AstraZeneca have all recently declared their vaccines as proficient and are awaiting approval.

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