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O'Toole family opts for Commons COVID-19 testing program

Last Updated Sep 17, 2020 at 10:44 pm MDT

Conservative MP Erin O'Toole rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov.1, 2018. A Conservative government, if elected this fall, would work to fix Canada's relationship with Saudi Arabia by trying to build back rapport with the kingdom in areas that it considers of mutual interest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

(EDIT: A previous version of this article stated in error that the RMWB is not on the province’s watch list for COVID-19)

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says the federal government is causing a COVID-19 disaster by not moving more quickly to approve rapid testing methods that are already in use in other countries.

O’Toole and his family were tested this morning for COVID-19 through a program for MPs, after waiting for several hours to be tested in Ottawa Wednesday and having to give up.

O’Toole, his wife Rebecca and their children Mollie and Jack are all in isolation after an O’Toole staff member he was travelling with tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

Demand for COVID-19 testing has skyrocketed this week as kids returned to school and in Ottawa, some people are waiting up to six hours for testing if they can get in at all.

O’Toole says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has to explain why Health Canada still has not approved rapid testing devices seven months into the pandemic, when many other countries, including the United States, have deemed them safe and effective.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Wednesday that Ottawa is reviewing applications for rapid testing devices but will not approve them until they meet Canada’s standards for accuracy.

Local response

Alberta reported six new cases and eight recoveries of COVID-19 in the RMWB.

In Fort McMurray, there are 44 active cases, one death, and 163 recovered cases in the urban service area.

Outside the urban service area, there are four active cases and 60 recoveries.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo remains on Alberta’s COVID-19 watch list.

Despite only 48 active cases across the region, the province said the RMWB has 57.8 active cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Across Alberta, there are 146 new cases and no deaths in the last 24 hours.

The province has 1483 active cases, 254 deaths, and 14,537 recovered cases of the illness.

41 Albertans are in hospital with eight in intensive care.

Dr Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said as the flu season approaches Albertans must be careful as they bring activities indoors.

She said the province must prepare a surge in testing, not just for COVID-19 but influenza as well.

There are currently 64 cases in 48 schools while infectious.

On May 9, Alberta became the first province in Canada to expand testing for COVID-19 to asymptomatic residents.

This article includes excerpts from Mia Robson of The Canadian Press.