Metro Vancouver hospital to use COVID-19 rapid tests on patients needing urgent surgeries

Royal Columbian Hospital is seen in New Westminster, B.C., in 2019.

A Metro Vancouver hospital is now the first in B.C. to use COVID-19 rapid tests on patients needing urgent, unscheduled surgery.

Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster is using the 15-minute tests after a trial on more than 1,000 asymptomatic patients earlier this year detected two positive cases of the disease.

A statement from Fraser Health says those patients went on to develop COVID-19 while recovering from surgery but were already being treated on a COVID ward protecting staff and other patients.

The health authority says a follow up study also found the rapid tests increase the sense of workplace safety, improve morale, and reduce worry associated with COVID-19.