The Christmas break at BC’s public schools officially begins on Monday amid increasing concern over the growing number of cases involving the Omicron COVID-19 Variant of Concern.
The leader of the BC Green Party, Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau, says the province needs to enhance its response to the new variant, including wide distribution of rapid testing kits.
Furstenau says no single option ensures complete success in dealing with COVID-19, but rapid tests are an additional tool to work with vaccines, high-quality masks, travel limitations, and restricting gatherings.
According to the Green Party leader, “in BC, unlike several other provinces, those tests are not being distributed to the public widely, we’ve got some excuses for that, but ultimately I think it’s an indication this was not a priority for this government.”
She says there has been a pattern of slow responses by the provincial government to new developments during the pandemic.
Furstenau would like to see it broaden the circle of experts it takes advice from and implement successful solutions that are being used in other jurisdictions.
In Ontario, a province-wide blitz has now been launched that offers rapid antigen screening to individuals free of charge.
The kits are available in various locations in Ontario.
The province is trying to mitigate the increased risk of transmission over the holidays.
Until mid-January, the Ontario government says up to two million rapid tests will be provided at pop-up sites in high traffic locations such as malls, retail settings, markets, libraries, and transit hubs.