Columbia Justice Lab, Emma Jacobs, Olivier Rouen discussed on All Things Considered


Department of correction He's now a senior research scientist at the Columbia justice lab And since you're already thank you so much for talking with us and sharing your expertise Thanks again for having me on You're listening to NPR news Thanks to the Macron variant Canada is recording COVID-19 case numbers many times higher than in any other point in the pandemic Demand for testing has so overwhelmed capacity in some parts of the country reporter Emma Jacobs tells us that some provinces have stopped offering laboratory testing to the general public Every day Olivier Rouen gets questions from other parents trying to figure out the province of Quebec's latest policies for COVID-19 isolation or testing Yes Every day In real time He's not a doctor He's just a dad of two teenage daughters who created a website back in 2020 to track COVID cases in schools It got popular so people come to him for advice In recent weeks he's getting asked a lot about how to get at home rapid tests Families are not able to get tests right now I would say inequity or disadvantage in terms of people with low income families can not get access to them People with high income purchase them on the Internet at the high price and even those are sold out And lab tests are no longer an option for most The Quebec government announced this week it will reserve PCR testing for people with symptoms who are at high risk or in high risk settings like hospitals and nursing homes Ontario's chief medical officer of health doctor Kieran Moore delivered a similar announcement last week about PCR tests This is a finite capacity of I don't think anywhere in the world expected the transmissibility of home acron And we have to use that finite capacity to best protect Ontario Both provinces have said individuals with symptoms who can't get tested should assume their positive and self isolate along with the rest of their household Epidemiologist doctor Katherine hankins co chairs a task force of researchers and public health professionals advising Canada's federal and provincial governments She says it makes sense to limit PCR testing amid a global shortage in supplies But she notes another problem Many provinces have been unable to provide people with enough rapid tests They were not deploying them And so when it came time to do so and to do so rapidly they didn't necessarily have in place mechanisms to make them available to people quickly Canadian federal ministers say deliveries of rapid tests to provinces will ramp up this month enough for everyone to take one a week But without general laboratory testing hankin says health officials will need other ways to assess progress in containing the virus We need to be thinking about what are the indicators to track as well as putting in place other layers of protection in settings like schools She's a big fan of N95 masks Some of the people who I was giving Christmas presents for got a box of these Already all the creator of the Quebec school case tracking website has added a section for people to self report rapid tests The provincial government plans to launch a platform next week However juran says many parents are still anxious about the shift to rapid tests whether they'll be accepted by employers and insurers And even whether they'll get enough tests People want to do the right thing They want to be good citizens They want to know if what they're doing is going to help prevent contamination to their family members colleagues neighbors But there's a lot of confusion right now he says amid so many changes And so more questions in his inbox For NPR news I'm Emma Jacobs in Montreal The right to keep and bear arms It's the constitution's.

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