WINNIPEG -- Manitoba health officials are expanding the COVID-19 testing criteria in the province to include all essential services.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, announced on Thursday the criteria for COVID-19 testing has also expanded to include all symptomatic workers or volunteers at workplaces identified as essential services.

Any symptomatic person who lives with a health care worker, first responder or worker in facilities such as correctional centres, shelters, long-term care or a residential facility may also be tested.

Current testing criteria includes people with symptoms who have travelled outside Manitoba in the past 14 days, close contacts of a confirmed case, health-care workers, all patients admitted to hospital with respiratory symptoms, lab workers who have worked with COVID-19 tests, first responders and individuals who live/work in the north, a remote or isolated community, or congregate setting.

Roussin said there is now no backlog of tests at the Cadham Provincial Laboratory, which has allowed the province to expand testing.

"We've always been testing those at highest risk of having COVID and those at highest risk of having severe outcomes of COVID," said Roussin.

"Now that we see the number of tests dwindling, we're going to expand access to lower risk groups trying to ensure we keep getting a good sampling of the population."

Roussin said 449 tests were performed at Cadham Provincial Laboratory on Wednesday, bringing the total number of tests completed in Manitoba to 18,349.