As the COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the communities of La Loche, Patuanak, and the Clearwater River Dene Nation, the province outlined how it will ramp up testing and contact tracing.

Health officials are conducting on average 30 tests per day in that region and are contact tracing people who show symptoms of the coronavirus.

Increased testing will come as more mobile testing units and drive thru testing becomes available.

Currently testing samples are being transported out of the area for analysis, yet a rapid testing machine will be set up and operational by May 1. The testing machine is anticipated to have results back within one day.

38 cases are in the region, with 29 active in La Loche. 26 are related to travel from Northern Alberta, two more cases are linked to the local long-term care facility, and two health care workers have tested positive. Two tests at the long-term care facility have negative results.

Eleven of the 12 new cases today are in the Far North and one is in the North region.

Self-isolation units within the La Loche school, social housing and work camp mobile units are being offered to assist that community.