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Nearly 1M COVID-19 tests to be deployed in Alberta, rapid testing pilot coming to select schools

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — In an effort to identify COVID-19 cases before an outbreak occurs, the province is deploying a number of testing methods.

Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange, announced that beginning as early as next week, the province will be deploying a rapid testing pilot in select schools in the Calgary area.

WATCH: Tyler Shandro, Adriana LaGrange join Dr. Deena Hinshaw for provincial COVID-19 update

The testing will be made available first for schools that are currently experiencing outbreaks.

Two schools in Calgary will deploy tests for those who are not experiencing symptoms, at this time it isn’t known which schools the province has chosen.

Staff who are receiving the test will be required to sign a consent form, and students will need to have a consent form signed by their parents in order to receive a test.

Results from these tests could be available within an hour.

Anyone who receives a positive test will be required to immediately go home and isolate.

Following the announcement of the rapid tests in schools, Health Minister Tyler Shandro took to the mic to announce 924,000 rapid tests will be deployed across the province.

Shandro says the rapid tests will provide a result in about 15 minutes.

Currently, 36 long term care, designated supported living, and hospice sites have already received the tests.

Now, on the vaccine front, Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced that, beginning Friday, the province will be expanding its age group for vaccine bookings.

Albertans born between 1957 and 1960 and Indigenous people born between 1972 and 1975 will be able to book in for their COVID-19 immunization.

As for COVID-19 numbers, the province identified 364 new cases of the virus over the last 24 hours, including 39 new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, and two new cases of the B.1.351 variant.

Thirty-eight people are now in the ICU fighting the virus, while in total, 259 people are now in hospital.

Five additional deaths were also reported on Thursday.

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