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Will B.C. teachers get priority COVID-19 testing?

Last Updated Sep 8, 2020 at 11:29 am PDT

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. The COVID-19 crisis has prompted a surge in lobbying as companies and organizations press the federal government to come to the aid of Canadians hard hit by the pandemic-induced lockdown.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Summary

In the early days of the pandemic, frontline health-care workers had COVID-19 testing priority

Labs can process tests quickly, so there's no need for separate streams, province says

NEWS 1130 is working hard to get you the information you need about the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are responding to your questions in a segment we call NEWS 1130 Gets Answers.

Question:

Tiffany: “I spent four hours in total trying to get a COVID test today at a drive-through testing site. It got me thinking. There’s priority testing for health-care workers, but I’m curious if there will be priority testing for those in the education field when school is back in session?”

Answer:

There won’t be a separate testing stream for B.C. teachers this fall.

Frontline health-care workers had a separate, priority stream for COVID-19 earlier during the pandemic. The quicker turnaround allowed these essential workers to get back to work sooner, if they tested negative for the virus.

But that is no longer the case.

“At this time and for the past months, B.C. laboratories are able to process routine COVID-19 tests within 24 hours of receipt in the testing laboratory, so there is no prioritization of samples. They are tested in the order received,” a spokesperson for the Provincial Health Services Authority told NEWS 1130.

B.C. students are expected to return to class by Sept. 10, two days after teachers get back to work on Sept 8.

“Staff, students and parents need time to get familiar with all the new health and safety procedures that are designed to keep them safe and confident in their school settings,” B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming said on Aug. 12.

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