January 6th, 2021 - 5:54pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2021
MASSE AND BORDER OFFICERS REQUEST RAPID COVID-19 TESTING AT BORDER CROSSINGS
Success of the pilot project in discovering coronavirus carriers demonstrates additional measures can reduce risk
(WINDSOR) – Today, Brian Masse NDP M.P. (Windsor West) was joined by Ken Turner, President of the Customs and Immigration Union Local 18 (Windsor), in requesting the federal government to implement a voluntary rapid covid-19 testing at the land border crossings between Windsor and Detroit.
“I wrote the Public Safety and Health Minister and informed them that the situation in Windsor-Essex and the high rate of Covid-19 infections on a per capita basis in the area and the impact the US-Canada border has contributed to this outcome. The introduction of rapid Covid-19 testing at all our local land border crossings could significantly reduce the public health risks to the residents and border workers by eliminating COVID-19 carriers from crossing the border. With the pilot project at the Coutts, Alberta land border crossing as an example of using different tools to discover asymptomatic carriers demonstrates additional measures could be implemented successfully. Yesterday’s comments by Minister Leblanc stating the government is open to explore all options that could be deployed at land border crossings is encouraging,” stated Masse.
In October 2019 the federal government purchased more than 20 million rapid Covid-19 tests from Abbott Laboratories. The Panbio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device can produce results in less than 20 minutes. Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said then that the devices are to be deployed to COVID-19 hotspots as demand for testing spikes and caseloads grow.
In the border pilot programs in Alberta, including the Coutts land border crossing, as of December 17, 2019 (the latest data available), had 18,021 participants. The positivity rate was determined to be 1.45 percent.
“Windsor is the largest and busiest land border in North America. The Customs and Immigration Union supports rapid testing in the Windsor Region, as well as including Border Services Officers on the list of frontline workers to receive early vaccinations. Windsor is also an essential corridor for the movement of health care workers, medical supplies, and a large part of the economy. If there is a significant outbreak at this border it would negatively impact the entire country. Early detection and protection are essential in Windsor,” stated Turner.
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