Quebec launches 'massive' testing operation in Montreal but misses target


Quebec has failed to reach its goal of conducting 14,000 COVID-19 tests per day as it prepares to launch a massive testing effort in Montreal, the epicentre of the virus in Canada.

Public health authorities say they don't yet have enough staff to rapidly investigate all the patients who test positive and trace the people they may have come into contact with.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec's director of public health, had previously said he expected the province to administer 14,000 tests per day by the end this week, but so far the province has the capacity to administer about 10,000.

Montreal public health director, Mylene Drouin, says her office has around 200 people who can track and trace about 500 patients per day, within 24 hours of them testing positive for COVID-19, but says more staff are needed.

Public health authorities say increased testing will help them reduce the community spread of the virus in several parts of the greater Montreal area, which has recorded 18,435 cases of COVID-19 and 1,727 deaths.

Quebec health officials say there are 94 new deaths across the province linked to COVID-19 today, bringing the provincial tally to 2,725.