Calgary is getting a temporary boost in COVID-19 testing. On Monday, May 11, Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced that for one week only, people with no symptoms can also get tested for the disease. However, only a maximum of 1,000 people with no symptoms can get COVID-19 tests in Calgary this week, and they must meet some specific criteria.
Calgary has seen a higher number of cases than other parts of Alberta. As such, the province has decided to undertake a new measure to detect new cases in the city.
"While we don't know how much asymptomatic spread make contribute to transmission in a population, we know it's possible," said Dr. Hinshaw, the Chief Medical Officer of Health in the province.
Therefore, they will be making testing available to anyone in the city who works outside of their homes. This will begin on Monday, May 11.
She told the public that the one-week-only initiative will only have room to test 1,000 people as Alberta will be focusing on individuals that are actually sick.
Recently, the province has expanded its list of COVID-19 symptoms who are now all eligible for testing, but it still didn't cover the people who may have the disease but don't exhibit any symptoms.
"I encourage anyone in the Calgary zone who's interested to go online and register for the test," said the top doctor.
The booking will be done on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Dr. Hinshaw also explained that signing up to get tested for this program is a bit different. Instead of calling 811, interested participants have to go on the self-assessment tool and sign up online.
She said that it's important to remember that testing people who aren't sick just gives a point-in-time picture of whether "they have the virus at a particular point in time."
It's totally possible to test negative once and then go on to develop symptoms later.
This measure will give the province more information about COVID-19 in Calgary at this point in time.
The priority when testing will always be people with symptoms. The symptoms list includes fevers, cough, sore throat, chills, pink eye, amongst others.
She also reminded the public to use the province's contact tracing app in public to further improve contact testing measures.