Mining industry leading the way with new COVID-19 rapid-testing technology – by Len Gillis (Northern Ontario Business – October 13, 2020)

Industry and business have responded well to a new Canadian COVID-19 test device that was first put into action at a Northern Ontario gold mine just three months ago.

The portable device, about the size of a bread toaster, is the SARS-CoV-2 Real-Time RT-PCR, distributed by Precision Biomonitoring of Guelph. It was approved by Health Canada on June 30. Two weeks later on July 13, the first test kit was used at the New Gold Inc. mine near Rainy River.

Since then, the test kit has become a success story, said Dr. Mario Thomas, CEO of Precision. Without revealing the names of clients, Thomas said a uranium mining company and an iron ore company also bought test kits. Some test kits have also been distributed to remote First Nations in Northern Ontario.

At the gold mining company, the testing is done with a registered nurse and a lab technician. New Gold said two nurses and two technicians were hired to allow continuous testing when there is a demand. The kit can use either nasal swabs or saliva swabs called Go-Strips.

The attraction, Thomas said, is that the kit allows health-care workers in remote places to do a COVID test on mine employees with results available in just over an hour.

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