While there are COVID-19 testing sites throughout the province, the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is offering its own testing to Metis citizens.
The MMF will now be able to test its citizens for COVID-19 after partnering with Winnipeg based company Intrinsic Analytics to be able to deliver tests to both symptomatic and asymptomatic Metis citizens.
Intrinsic Analytics also works with other companies on COVID-19 testing including pilots and the Keeyask camp for their workers.
Those wishing to get tested will have to call a number and book an appointment – but the MMF says the location of the testing site will not be made public.
“We don’t want a flood happening to this particular location. It’s got to be done in a very progressive, in a very organized way. And we want to make sure that families know that they can trust once an appointment’s been made, or individuals get this appointment made, they are going to get tested for sure,” said MMF President David Chartrand.
The MMF says 10-20 tests can be done daily – either by drive through testing or in an office setting.
Chartrand added that this site will be able to provide clear results as to where positive cases are coming from among Metis citizens.
“Now we’ll know where they’re coming from, we’ll know what community, we’ll know what neighbourhood and so we’ll be able to quickly address our metis government plan because we have no choice. We’re on our own in this province right now and we got to take our own action.”
The MMF was looking at ways they can help their Metis citizens and this was one of many ideas.
“So what we want to do is we want to find out how we can assist our Metis citizens in the province of Manitoba and our timeline is just exorbitant with the provincial government and you know right now we don’t have a working relationship with them,” said MMF Minister of Health and Wellness Frances Chartrand.
Chartrand continued saying the MMF is trying to help their citizens in any way when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So we’re trying to streamline our information and get, make sure our citizens have access to testing sites and Covid vaccines or any resources that develop for COVID-19.”
The MMF says testing results will be available within 24 hours.
According to the province, COVID-19 testing results in Manitoba take as little as 22 hours.
The province does have concerns about how the MMF will share information for contact tracing efforts.
“Although the MMF are welcome to provide this redundant service, it is concerning as to how they intend to connect their test results with the public system to ensure appropriate contact tracing,” Brant Batters, provincial spokesperson said.
The province is also concerned what the MMF will do should a positive test arise.
“It is important to follow up with positive cases so they are able to get the appropriate care, and information on how to reduce the spread of the virus. This kind of follow-up is a key component of COVID-19 testing,” Batters said.
Chartrand said the MMF will share information with public health.
“We are going to share this with the Public Health and if they want to do continued tracing and knowing full well, but we will have data now at the federation because we have none with the province, how we can help our families,” he said.
Chartrand added the testing can help determine a positive test in a big family should one arise.
“How we can help those families if they have to isolate, and we know they’re big families, we’d have to figure out how do we take them apart from that little home that they’re all crowded in and put them into different locations until that family can take control of their situation.”
The testing site opened on Monday in Winnipeg and the MMF confirmed testing is already underway.