Manitoba has new rapid COVID-19 test in hand, will start validating them Tuesday

Manitoba has one of the new types of rapid novel coronavirus tests in hand, and will start validating that they work on Tuesday.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Monday they’re aware of two new tests, called Spartan Cube and GeneXpert, and that they have one in hand.

Right now in in Manitoba we have the Spartan Cube and we’re looking at starting to validate that tomorrow,” said Roussin.

“Once we’re convinced that it’s a valid test then we’ll start utilizing that.”

Once the test is in use, it will likely be used in hospitals first where getting a rapid test result back would be most beneficial, said Roussin.

After that, it will be used elsewhere.

“It will depend on how many tests are available, how many units are available.”

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Based in Ottawa, Spartan Bioscience said in a news release Sunday that federal government approval means its tests can now start heading out the door to “federal and provincial government partners starting immediately.”

The rapid test uses a coffee-cup-sized portable DNA analyzer — the Spartan Cube — as well as test cartridges and swabs. The company said this allows the test to be carried out by “non-laboratory personnel” in places like airports or pharmacies, or remote regions of the country.

There were four new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba as of Monday. A probable case was determined to be a false positive, so the case count stands at 246.

Eight people are hospitalized, four in ICU. Four people have died, and 99 have recovered.

According to a statement by Alberta Health Services, Spartan’s tests can provide results in less than an hour. The governments of both Ontario and Alberta have so far turned to the company to scale up testing capacity in each province.

-With files from Maryam Shah

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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