Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, seen here in Edmonton on March 20, 2020, announced that testing will also be available to people with symptoms who work in group homes, shelters or as first responders, along with police, bylaw officers and federal and provincial correctional staff.

The Canadian Press

Alberta has decided to broadly expand who can get tested for COVID-19 to help curb the spread of disease in high-risk groups, raising questions about whether other provinces will follow suit.

As of Tuesday, anyone in Alberta aged 65 and older with possible COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath, is eligible for testing. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced that testing will also be available to people with symptoms who work in group homes, shelters or as first responders, along with police, bylaw officers and federal and provincial correctional staff.

“Identifying infections in all of these groups will help us to prevent the spread to high-risk populations living in close quarters, trace any community transmission among the testing groups and provide more valuable information on the effects of our public-health measures,” Dr. Hinshaw said during her daily briefing on Monday.

Story continues below advertisement

Infectious-disease experts say testing is a key strategy to containing the spread of COVID-19. Many people with the disease may have mild symptoms and not realize they are ill, meaning they continue to interact with others and spread the infection.

But shortages in test kits and laboratory backlogs have made widespread testing a challenge in Canada. Shortages prompted several provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, to restrict testing criteria to severely ill patients, health-care workers and other high-risk groups.

Despite this, B.C. and Alberta have kept their testing rates high. Alberta, in particular, has been a national leader in COVID-19 testing since the outbreak began, consistently looking for the disease in more people per capita than most parts of Canada and many other countries around the world.

Ontario has faced criticism for its testing rates, which are the lowest per capita in Canada. On Tuesday, Ontario reported testing just 2,568 people the previous day. Provincial health officials have said the province would be able to conduct about 20,000 tests a day by the middle of April.

David Fisman, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, said Ontario is testing fewer people than it was last week, “which is exactly the opposite direction we should be going.”

Given that other provinces have been able to scale up testing despite shortages and backlogs, he said he cannot figure out why Ontario has yet to catch up. “I look at this and shake my head.”

On Tuesday, Ontario health officials said the province has capacity to test around 10,000 a day, but that fewer people are showing up to assessment centres. The province hopes to increase the numbers of those tested, and an expert group is going to advise officials on next steps for the province’s testing strategy, said Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health.

Story continues below advertisement

“Obviously, we have a lot of capacity that we want people to be tested but we don’t want to go overboard and end up with another backlog,” she said.

In Alberta, Dr. Hinshaw said the province is expanding who can be tested because the outbreak is evolving and it is clear that people who live in close quarters, such as in group homes, long-term care facilities, jails and other institutions, are at a heightened risk.

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters.

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Follow related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies