Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced that his government was ready to track the contacts of those who test positive for COVID-19 by making tracing calls every day.
During a press conference, Trudeau said his government has trained employees who can make 3,600 contact tracing calls a day, and in addition, Statistics Canada has trained another 1,700 interviewers who can make up to 20,000 calls a day.
“We need to accelerate our ability to do contact tracing. After we’ve confirmed and isolated new cases, we have to get in touch with everyone who may have been exposed to the virus and make sure they take measures to quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms or get tested,” Trudeau said.
Earlier, Trudeau announced that his government’s wage subsidy program for employees in businesses hit hard by COVID-19 will last until the end of August.
The subsidy, designed to incentivize employers to keep staff on the payroll or bring back those who were laid off, was initially meant to cost 73 billion Canadian dollars (about US $52 billion).
He also said that his government will fund provinces’ efforts to test people for COVID-19 and help different jurisdictions share data.
Trudeau has expanded the scope of, and eligibility for the program since first promising it in March.
Canada has reportedly tested nearly 1.4 million people. It nominally has the capacity to test 60,000 people per day, but has been averaging only about 28,000 daily.
On Thursday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said that, despite the number of tests done, with a population of more than 37 million, the true infection rate remains unknown, and is likely much higher than current data indicates.
The country has reported 82,420 confirmed COVID-19 cases, while 6,245 people have died from the disease.