Paramedics step up to help increase COVID-19 testing capacity in Quebec

Public health officials are turning to paramedics to help increase COVID-19 testing capacity in Quebec.

“We're talking about schools, we're talking about autonomous residences, we're talking about CHSLDs (long-term care homes), we're talking about anywhere we find there may be an outbreak,” said Marc-Andre Gagnon of Urgences-Sante.

It's a welcome relief for Montreal public health workers, who are dealing with a surge in testing.

“This is excellent news. It will help us quickly increase our testing capacity to meet the needs,” said Sonia Belanger of the regional health board for the Centre-Sud sector of Montreal

Quebec is looking to gradually increase its testing capacity to 35,000 a day, but the government is also trying to bolster contact tracing so when people do test positive, any potential outbreaks can be contained.

Tracing capabilities are a major priority said Quebec Premier Francois Legault, but some Quebecers have been reluctant to download the federal government's COVID tracing app.

The COVID Alert app went live in Quebec this week, and it’s secure, said Legault. 

“We made sure that we made all the verifications since this summer and I can guarantee to Quebecers that there's no risk for their personal data,” he said.

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