Cathy McLeod busy helping people navigate the various services and programs that have been put in place or disrupted since the March lockdown. (File submitted).

Rapid testing essential to public health, economy

McLeod questions federal government’s gathering of information for COVID-19 quarantine zones.

The federal government is gathering information from third parties about running federal COVID-19 quarantine and isolation zones, but Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod isn’t sure what it hopes to achieve.

At the moment, this is simply a call for interest and not proposals, McLeod said. The government seems to be exploring other options for delivering their responsibilities but she added they haven’t been very upfront with Canadians about what it is they’re doing and why.

The government has already spent over $37-million on their responsibility to quarantine, she said. When an individual tests positive for COVID-19 and has no plan to quarantine, they have to go to a designated facility run by the government.

“The fact is when you’re not transparent you leave a vacuum that gets filled. I think they need to be much clearer on why they’re doing this exploration and what their plans are and to date they haven’t,” McLeod said.

McLeod said she’ll reserve judgment on any possibility of a third party taking over government quarantine sites until their plans are made clear, one way or the other.

Meanwhile, over the past few months, McLeod said both her office in Kamloops and in 100 Mile House has been incredibly busy helping people navigate the various services and programs that have been put in place or disrupted since the March lockdown, she said. They have also received a large volume of inquires about business and economic concerns but also simple health as well.

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McLeod takes issue with some of the early decisions made by the federal government and believes there is still work to be done to make rapid testing available for any Canadians who need it. Rapid testing is essential to both public health and Canada’s economy and McLeod believes it’s something that needs to be rectified. While the pandemic is unprecedented, there are certain things she believes they’ll still need to be accountable for when later on.

“A lot of countries did a lot better. We can’t just compare ourselves to the U.S., we need to compare ourselves to countries across the world and I certainly think there are some significant gaps,” McLeod said.

Anyone looking for more information on the federal government’s current response to COVID-19 is invited to subscribe to the newsletter she puts out once every two weeks. Her office and staff are also always standing by to assist people in any way they can.

“I know that people are getting very concerned, the pandemic has been going on for a long time. It’s tough for many people in terms of isolation and concerns over finances or the business they put their hearts and souls into,” McLeod said, adding that it’s good to reach out to those you care for and make sure they’re doing alright.

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