All NWT communities now have access to rapid COVID-19 testing that can deliver preliminary results to patients in as little as 15 minutes.
This has been achieved by implementing a variety of testing technologies including the PanBio and IDNow point-of-care testing systems and the lab based testing that has been available in Yellowknife and Inuvik since October.
This news comes two weeks after the GNWT noted they were ramping up COVID-19 testing for the holiday season.
Sue Cullen, Chief Executive Officer of the NTHSSA says the newest development includes distribution of PanBio testing kits and addition of IDNow devices in Fort Providence, Fort Liard, Lutsel’ke and Fort Resolution.
“Getting point-of-care tests into every community across our territory has long been our objective. Being able to receive a preliminary test result so quickly aligns with our system-wide goal of providing the best care to NWT residents.”
The PanBio device allows for testing to be completed with a simple point of care device that delivers a result similar to an over-the-counter pregnancy test. Use of these devices is limited to symptomatic individuals.
All PanBio and IDNow tests will require confirmatory testing at a lab site, most confirmatory results are available within 24-48 hours.
Any positive results will be treated as a presumptive positive with isolation and contact tracing undertaken immediately.
Between November 27th and December 11th, the average turnaround time for COVID-19 testing across the NWT has been 19 hours.