The BC Liberals are calling on the NDP to develop a detailed plan to utilize the new rapid tests coming from the federal government, as well as the more than one million tests that have been sitting in provincial government storage for months.
“The NDP government has failed British Columbians,” said said Interim Leader of the Official Opposition Shirley Bond. “The public, as well as the BC Liberal Caucus, have been calling for increased and broader use of rapid tests for over a year now and the NDP has made no progress on getting those tests, still sitting in boxes, into the hands of British Columbians. With millions more test kits now on the way from Ottawa, it’s high time for this government to finally come up with a plan to get rapid tests in the hands of those who need it most.”
Despite 80 million rapid tests being sent out to provinces and territories by the federal government, and this week’s announcement of 140 million more coming from Ottawa soon, British Columbia has failed throughout the entire pandemic to take advantage of these tests in the way that other jurisdictions have throughout Canada, said Bond.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday that there are different types of rapid antigen tests that are available. Many of the tests B.C. has require a health professional to take a swab, she said, adding the province has used those in areas where they are most useful, primarily long term care homes.
Henry adding that about 1.3 million of B.C.’s rapid tests are that kind and that they require a box to complete the test that can’t be taken home.
“I’ve been hearing from people across the province, anxious about Omicron, and in utter disbelief and frustration that they cannot access rapid tests like our fellow Canadians in other provinces,” said Bond. “With more rapid tests on the way, British Columbians expect to see specific details of the distribution and utilization plan for these tests. The vast majority of people in our province have done everything they have been asked to do and more and they expect nothing less from their government. While rapid tests aren’t perfect, they should be considered an important part of pandemic protection and we should be using every tool in the toolbox to keep people safe.”