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COVID-19 test results now available via text message

People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Alberta Health Services (AHS) announced participants can receive COVID-19 test results via text or automated phone call.

Albertans who book a test on their website or visit an AHS assessment centre may choose to get their results through these methods.

Dr Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said the move should help address the current backlog.

“It is important that anyone who is tested for COVID-19 receive the results as soon as possible, particularly those with a positive result. I encourage all Albertans who arrange for a COVID-19 test to allow the text or autodialer system to provide their results. That way, you will have the benefit of this critical information as soon as it is available.”

Those who test positive also receive a phone call from the AHS Public Health Team for follow-up or support.

Albertans who receive negative results should follow guidance from AHS to keep healthy and keep close contacts safe.

Participants will receive an alert within a 24-hour period, seven days a week.

The autodialer operates from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. seven days a week.

It relayed 500,000 negative test results to Albertans since April.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said test results go to participants, whether positive or negative, as soon as practical.

“Providing Albertans with both positive and negative COVID-19 test results through text message and automated phone calls will significantly reduce wait times for test results. We have heard Albertans’ concerns and responded.”

AHS estimated this will reduce wait times by a full day after the initial swab.

“With faster delivery of test results, individuals with COVID-19 can begin self-isolation sooner, reducing the risk of transmission to others,” Said Dr Laura MacDougall, AHS Senior Medical Officer of Health. “This will help Alberta limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Residents 14 years of age and older may also find their test results online at MyHealth Records.

More information on COVID-19 test results is available on the AHS website.