Trudeau says federal gov’t will fund provincial COVID-19 testing and tracing across Canada

Trudeau says federal gov't will fund provincial COVID-19 testing and tracing across Canada
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will fund provinces' efforts to test people for COVID-19, track the contacts of those who test positive, and help different jurisdictions share data.

After the tenth weekly call with Canada’s premiers, Minister Justin Trudeau outlined three key measures on Friday morning, needed to safely reopen the economy.

Trudeau says the measures are essential because COVID-19 remains a serious health threat and the economy can’t fully recover until Canadians are confident that the novel coronavirus can be contained.

Trudeau says first, testing needs to be scaled up across the country.

“While some provinces have the capacity to meet their current needs, we’re collaborating to ramp up testing so we can protect Canadians and effectively manage future outbreaks,” said Trudeau

Canada normally has the capacity to test 60,000 people per day but has been averaging only about 28,000.

He says Ottawa will also provide necessary resources, like reagents and swabs, to make sure provinces are able to do the tests.

Next, the Prime Minister says the federal government will help provinces and territories accelerate contact tracing.

“After we’ve confirmed and isolated new cases, we have to get in contact with everyone who may have been exposed tot he virus and make sure they take measures to quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms or get tested.”

Trudeau says the federal government has trained employees to be able to make 3,600 calls a day to help trace potential COVID-19 contacts seven days a week.

Statistics Canada has also an additional 1,700 interviewers ready to go who can make up to 20,000 calls a day.

“These federal resources are available to assist provinces and territories with surges, or backlog, or challenges they have with contact racing,” said the Prime Minister.

Ontario is the first province taking advantage of federal help, however, Trudeau ensured the government is ready for anyone who needs it.

The last of three measures Trudeau outlines is to make sure the data collected across jurisdictions is shared between all provinces and territories. He says this will help track the spread, adapt the response and save lives.

Trudeau also announced on Friday a new online tool to help Canadians figure out what benefits they qualify for.

The new page on the government website will ask some questions, to then lead you to a page outlining what benefits are available to you.

The prime minister says the government is still working to find out exactly what help the provinces need most.

More to come.


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