COMMENTARY: It’s not too late for a creative and aggressive testing and tracing strategy

COMMENTARY: It’s not too late for a creative and aggressive testing and tracing strategy

We may be at the point now in Canada where anything short of more restrictive lockdown measures will be unable to stem the rising tide of COVID-19 cases.

It’s frustrating, too, because it feels like we’ve backed ourselves into this corner where we have very limited and unpalatable options.

That cases are surging as we enter the latter stages of autumn really ought not have been a surprise; we were warned that such a scenario was very likely, if not all but guaranteed. What is surprising, especially in hindsight, is that we didn’t use the opportunity of the flattened curve to better prepare for this very challenge.

Read more: Why contact tracing becomes ‘impossible’ as coronavirus cases surge

It has been emphasized repeatedly throughout this pandemic that an aggressive strategy of test, trace, and isolate is crucial to staying a step ahead of, and therefore containing, this virus. While we have seen glimpses of this approach at various points in various provinces, our testing and tracing is nowhere close to where it needs to be at the moment — and we’re paying the price.

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Certainly the provinces bear a lot of responsibility when it comes to their respective capacity for COVID-19 testing, but of course the approval and acquisition of new testing devices is the purview of Health Canada.

Ottawa has been oft criticized for dragging its feet on rapid testing. And while we are now finally beginning to build up our arsenal of rapid testing devices, we now have to overcome federal intransigence when it comes to at-home testing.…

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