Last November, the federal government delivered British Columbia’s stockpile of COVID-19 rapid tests approved by Health Canada.
Rapid testing could give us another level of protection by pre-emptively screening employees in our health system. It could also be applied beyond our hospitals — in schools, and more importantly in long-term care homes.
These tests have the potential to serve as a very useful tool in our ongoing fight against COVID-19. So why aren’t they being used?
That’s the question our caucus has posed directly to Premier Horgan.
I echo this concern, because rapid testing has the potential to save a lot of lives right here in Cariboo-Chilcotin.
We are joining with the independent Office of the Seniors Advocate, Ms. Isobel Mackenzie, as well as care home operators from across the province, in calling for the use of rapid tests to help prevent outbreaks before they can endanger our seniors.
Tragically, rapid tests not being used in our province to try to prevent transmission in long-term care facilities.
These tests are inexpensive and easy to administer. Other provinces have managed to make them work and are successfully using them to save lives.
You are probably like me and wondering why we are not using rapid tests as the vaccination process continues to slowly roll out.
We should be using every tool at our disposal. And that’s why I have no problem asking the tough questions that our Premier has been ducking for months.
While a systematic rapid testing program isn’t a silver bullet to stop all deaths in long-term care, adopting this strategy could certainly save lives.
I hope that our government will rethink its decision and begin using these tests, which other provinces are currently using as part of their arsenal against COVID-19.
Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.