Advancing the Fight
Advancing the Fight Against COVID-19
It’s clear that testing is one of the most useful tools a government has to help manage diseases, and our provincial government partners recognized this when they turned to LifeLabs when the pandemic was declared. We responded with equal speed, quality and agility by ramping up COVID-19 testing in a matter of weeks. The effort was mighty with all hands on deck, working 24/7, to make it happen, but we are proud to be a partner on the front-lines supporting our health care system during this urgent public health care need.
Here’s what it looked like behind the scenes, as we prepared to receive the first batch of COVID-19 tests:
- Training multiple shifts on the new testing procedure
- Repurposing space within our labs
- Adding additional platforms to increase testing capacity
- Validating bench work, reviewing data, and documenting the process
- Working with partners to ensure adequate supplies and testing reagents were on-hand
- Supporting additional collection of tests across the communities we serve
- Recruiting new and redeploying existing teams to add more resources to ramp up testing.
Within weeks, we were completing 5,000 tests per day, but that was only the beginning. As volumes increased, we needed to expand our capacity even more. Our teams responded with remarkable ease and willingness to help. We redeployed employees and cross-trained where needed for employees to take on new responsibilities. By December 2020, we reached the 1,000,000 milestone for COVID-19 tests completed. Building on these successes, we launched Canada’s first COVID-19 antibody test, which can detect past infections. We then turned our attention to helping Canadians get back to work. In July, we launched WorkClear, an end-to-end solution that helps employers reduce the risk of workplace transmission of COVID-19. WorkClear gives employers access to collection and testing services, and to supporting processes and technology such as symptomatic risk screening, employer dashboards, and reporting to public health. This program has been a critical component in businesses being able to have employees return to work and help restart the Canadian economy amidst the pandemic.
For complex situations, WorkClear also offers specialized consulting to help employers develop an evidence-based return-to-work strategy, complete with workflows, protocols, and testing, and risk reduction. In 2020, we were proud to provide this service to the NHL, as the testing partner for its Return to Play plan at the hub in Toronto. This allowed the hockey season to resume in late May, after being suspended in March.
In the fall, we launched FlyClear™ in British Columbia and Ontario, in partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart. FlyClear™ provides pre-flight COVID-19 test results within 48 hours so that individuals can travel safely. Customers can book a LifeLabs’ FlyClear™ test on our online shopping cart and book an appointment at Shoppers for specimen collection.