Health Canada asks cannabis producers to aid in COVID-19 testing

The agency is “working to identify lab capacity that might be available across the country”

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Last Thursday, Health Canada sent an email to all licensed cannabis producers in the country that said the agency was “working to identify lab capacity that might be available across the country in various sectors, including at licensed cannabis production sites, to assist with supporting COVID-19 testing”.

“We are currently working to understand the specific needs and related questions, and we will be it touch in the coming days to request more information,” reads the email from Health Canada’s acting director general, Joanne Garrah. “If you have lab capacity within your facility and are interested in assisting, please notify us by email.”

Across Canada, more than 184,000 people have been tested at provincial and national labs. However, it can be a slow process; in Ontario, for example, thousands of people are still awaiting their test results. More facilities capable of processing test results are crucial.

Who should be tested for the coronavirus? The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says that people with respiratory symptoms who may require testing for COVID-19 include those who are:

  • Hospitalized, or likely to be hospitalized
  • Health-care workers
  • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • Part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak.

The BCCDC further notes that anyone who has symptoms—these include a fever, cough, sneezing, and sore throat—should self-isolate for 10 days.

If you feel you might require testing but aren’t sure, the BCCDC offers an online self-assessment tool on its website.

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