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Alberta seniors part of expanded COVID-19 testing

Sturgeon Hospital
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

Seniors and more front-line workers are now eligible for COVID-19 testing.

On Monday afternoon, Alberta chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said testing for COVID-19 will be expanding in the province.

Individuals who work in group homes, shelter workers, first responders, federal and provincial correctional staff, peace and bylaw officers and public health inspectors will be eligible for testing if they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.

Residents who are 65 years old or older will be eligible for testing starting tomorrow morning if they have any of those symptoms.

“Knowing that older Albertans are at increased risk for complications if they are infected with COVID-19, we are expanding testing access to enable early detection of infection in this group of people,” Hinshaw said.

“Identifying infections in all of these groups will help us to prevent the spread to high risk populations living in close quarters more closely, trace any community transmission among the testing group and provide more valuable information on the effects of our public heath measures.”

Hinsahw said not everybody who feels sick needs to be tested.

“That is why we have set these priorities based on our current best information about the virus,” Hinshaw said, adding the best thing anyone who is feeling sick can do is stay home.

Albertans who meet the new criteria and want to be tested are asked to take the online assessment first, which will then let them know if they should call 811 to arrange to get a swab.