Thank you for the question.
Currently in our nursing stations in all first nations on reserve there are swabs, and nurses are available to take samples from the nose and send them off to the provincial laboratory system. As you know, in each province there are guidelines on the criteria for testing, and we follow the guidelines of the province where the particular reserve is located.
In addition, we acknowledge there's a lag time, both in transporting the swab to urban centres where the provincial labs are situated and also, as you have heard, in wait times, depending on the province. Some provinces have longer wait times and longer turnaround times for the results to actually get back.
One of the latest developments is the approval by the regulators here in Canada, by Health Canada, of two rapid point-of-care test kits. One is produced in the United States and the other is produced in Canada. Those two test kits have the potential of bringing the testing much closer to the community.
For the U.S. tests, unfortunately, because there is currently difficulty in getting some of the test equipment and test kits out of the United States, they are therefore slow coming into Canada. Those test kits and that equipment produced in the United States are being placed in hospital labs.
Currently the product produced here in Canada, which recently got approved, is not available other than for beta testing, for pilot testing by a provincial laboratory system and the National Microbiology Laboratory. When we asked the company, they said the reason is that they have to internally ramp up their production schedule in order to come up with the test machines as well as the test cartridges. They are hoping that in a couple of weeks' time they will be able to have some boxes of equipment and cartridges available for testing.
In the meantime, over the next week or two, all they have is a very small number of test kits and some test equipment for provincial laboratories and the national laboratory to actually validate the testing. At that point they will be able to ramp up the testing so the test kits can actually go all over Canada. However, even at that time they are expecting that in the beginning they will have only a small supply, and then the supply will increase over the course of the coming weeks and months.