VICTORIA, B.C. – The Provincial government announced plans for an accelerated testing strategy and to increase capacity for booster shots at a media availability on Tuesday.

As of December 15th, British Columbia has received 3,197,306 tests and distributed 1,266,513 across the province in five key areas:

Medical Health Officers will implement rapid testing in other high-risk areas.

B.C. expects to use around 35,000 tests per week under the current initiative, and that is expected to continue. More access to an inventory of over 2 million tests will help the province expand the testing program.

B.C. will evaluate the effectiveness of expanded rapid testing in December and January by monitoring the number of tests distributed, monitoring the demand or use of inventory, and through continuous consultation with the provincial health officer, Medical Health Officers for each region as well as the First Nations Health Authority.

The province will use that data to inform future allocations of tests and make any necessary changes towards the end of January and into February.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says the province has requested at least 11 million tests from the government of Canada, from five different manufacturers.

Health Minister Adrian Dix explained the details of B.C.’s plan to ramp up the COVID-19 booster shot campaign.

So far, over 725,000 booster or third doses have been given as well as 101,266 pediatric vaccines.

The province is operating at 35 per cent higher capacity than previously planned. This is done through the use of pharmacies and health authority clinics.

A clinic at the Vancouver Convention Centre will have a capacity potential of 130,000 doses in January, starting January 5th.

Dix says some scheduled surgeries will be postponed similar to how they were in the spring, but he confirmed that urgent and emergency surgeries will continue.

Scheduled surgeries will be postponed starting January 4th.

“As we head into the holidays, no matter how we celebrate this special time of year, we can view it with the magic and joy that has always renewed us and those around us, and we can do it without giving COVID new strength and purchase,” said Dix.