An executive director in the Office of the Prime Minister, Brett Thalmann, urged “substantial random sampling testing” of Canadians for COVID-19 in accord with an estimate provided by the Boston Consulting Group.
Thalmann sent an email on May 2, 2020 to fellow Trudeau staffers Katie Telford, Jeremy Broadhurst, Rick Theis, Matt Stickney, Marci Surkes, Brooke Malinoski and Kirsten Strom. In part, the email read:
But, the national testing goal is not ambitious enough by a factor of 4-5x. BCG [Boston Consulting Group] estimates that we need to be testing at a rate of 214k per day including a substantial random sampling testing of the population. That lines up with what I am seeing from various epidemiologists in Canada commenting on this. Dan also raised with me the idea of randomly sample testing the population [which] would be very effective.
I think we need to quickly get PHAC [Public Health Agency of Canada] and Health [Canada] to adopt a much more ambitious testing target and then get focused on supply chain (we would need 3x the amount of reagent than what PSPC just procured), resourcing and logistics required to meet that new goal on an expedited timeline. Killian is going to send me more backup info to support their suggested testing goal.
…I really think we need to create federal testing capacity and explore private sector partnerships (like in Iceland) to rapidly increase the testing capacity.
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