COVID-19 Diary – Day 201

Canada to Purchase New Rapid Tests

In yesterday’s post, we reported on a global initiative to make rapid antigen testing available to low and middle-income countries. One of the suppliers of those tests, Abbot, has now also signed a deal with Canada for 7.9 million rapid tests. But unlike the affordable antigen tests mentioned yesterday, these tests are part of Abbot’s ID Now system which tests for RNA in a method very similar to a standard PCR nasal swab test.

What makes these tests exciting is that they appear to have the incredible processing speed usually found only in antigen testing, but seem to retain the accuracy and specificity usually associated with PCR tests. This kind of testing could be a huge win for the Canadian airline industry, should Health Canada (and Transport Canada) approve it for use.

Canada Announces New App: COVIDTrends

A new tool has been launched to help you track the amount of COVID-19 cases in your area. COVIDTrends is a fairly simple tool that uses a map and publicly accessible provincial data to provide you with local case counts. The data is similar but more limited compared to what you would find on the BC COVID-19 Dashboard, but it’s displayed in a very concise way, and you can easily use the app to compare multiple health authorities. You may search areas either by postal code (first 3 digits) or by city names.

Provincial Election Update

The number of people requesting mail-in ballot packages from Elections BC has now reached 431,000. This is ~13% of the volume of registered voters during the 2017 provincial election and almost 22% of the volume of actual votes cast in 2017. Officials are estimating that as much as 35% of all votes cast on October 24th could be through the mail.

Those wishing to cast their votes through the mail are recommended to request their mail-in ballot package on or before October 17th, after which you will not be able to request the option any longer. All mail-in ballots must be received by Elections BC by October 24th at 8pm. If you plan to vote in person, please familiarize yourself with the COVID-19 voting safety procedures in advance. An outline of other key election dates can be found here.

Grand Opening Raffle – 6 days left

To celebrate our grand opening, we are giving away one of the special limited edition Dr. Bonnie Henry themed Compass Cards. To enter the raffle just leave a comment on any of the weekly posts starting today until October 4th. Maximum of one entry per day, and no more than 5 entries per person. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Monday, October 5th’s daily post.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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