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Province expands COVID-19 testing in Calgary region

Last Updated Apr 8, 2020 at 7:26 pm MDT

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Chief Medical officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw has announced that all Calgarians experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can now be tested for the virus.

On Tuesday, Hinshaw announced the change during an Alberta COVID-19 update.

“We are expanding testing effective immediately to include all residents of the Calgary zone who have a cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, or shortness of breath,” said Hinshaw.

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“We are also opening testing to essential service workers across the province with any of the same symptoms.”

She adds anyone in the province who has symptoms and lives with someone 65 and over can be tested.

Hinshaw said that there will be an increase in the number of tests in the future.

“Our daily testing numbers are still lower than our labs have the capacity to test.”

“Therefore, we are looking at our data to determine where to strategically use testing capacity.”

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“We know that Calgary has had a higher per cent positive rate in their lab testing, and this has persisted, even with the change in our testing this last week.”

To access testing, Hinshaw encourages everyone to use their online assessment tool.

“Anyone in any of these categories should use the online Alberta Health Services assessment tool as the way to access testing.”

A new process is now in place that means anyone who goes through that online assessment does not need to call 811.

The province announced 50 new cases and three new deaths, All of the deaths are in the Calgary zone.