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Physician says frequent retesting for COVID-19 could be slowing things down

Last Updated Sep 17, 2020 at 7:32 am PDT

Summary

Lineups for COVID-19 testing are growing across Canada, with many people getting retested for the virus

An expert suggests getting regular swabs may give you a false sense of security

More than 300,000 tests are being done every week across the nation but most count the total tests administered

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – As the number of COVID-19 cases grows, so too do the number of people getting tested, and in some cases, retested.

However, the sheer number of tests could be slowing down the process for everyone. An expert says they also aren’t that helpful for people who are following all the guidelines.

Dr. Dan Gresgon, physician of Infectious Diseases & Medical Microbiology at the University of Calgary, says getting tested regularly could give you a false sense of security.

“If I go out and get tested today and my test comes back as negative, I still need to wear a mask when I go out to protect myself. And tomorrow morning I may be infectious so I still need to wear a mask to protect other people.”

More than 300,000 tests are being done every week across the nation but most count the total tests administered, not the number of people being tested.

He says those that are going to be tested frequently could have a high degree of anxiety with regard to COVID-19 and could benefit from public health sites with information to alleviate those concerns.

“If I get my test done on a Monday morning and I’m going into a cohort of high-risk people on Friday or Thursday, I may still be infectious at that point in time. That test done previously doesn’t help you in making that decision.”

He adds that could change if we had a test that returned results within the day, but the country isn’t there yet.

Gresgon believes testing isn’t really providing you with useful information, unless you’re symptomatic, have been exposed, or have travelled.

In Alberta, where labs are processing about 10,000 tests a day, there are concerns that people are going for tests when they don’t need them, slowing things down.

-With files from CityNews