Quebec stops PCR tests for general public as Omicron overwhelms system – CBC

Province has not lost control of the pandemic, strategic medical advisor says

Jan 05, 2022

Faced with tens of thousands of people seeking PCR tests on a daily basis and a dwindling quantity of screening supplies, Quebec public health is putting an end to testing the general public for the coronavirus.

PCR tests will be reserved for those in high-risk settings such as hospitals, long-term care homes, detention centres and homeless shelters, a senior strategic advisor to Quebec public health said during a technical briefing Tuesday.

Northern and remote communities will also be given priority, said Dr. Marie-France Raynault.

“If you are not in a place where there is an active outbreak or in an environment at risk, the general population, for all practical purposes, will not have access to PCR tests,” she said.”We are absolutely overwhelmed by the Omicron wave.”

Nearly 47,000 people underwent a PCR test in Quebec on Tuesday alone, a pace that laboratories and personnel cannot maintain.

“We have a capacity of about 30,000 tests a day, and last week, for example, we had almost 60,000 tests per day and it’s unsustainable,” said Raynault

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