WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) has hired a private firm to provide COVID-19 testing to its citizens.

According to the MMF, the firm will both collect and process the samples and will provide the test results quickly.

“They’re telling us we can have a (one) day return,” said MMF president David Chartrand.

“Within a day, we’ll know exactly if the Metis citizen is COVID free or not, and so that will help people who are employed, and making sure their job is not affected.”

Chartrand noted the MMF is not suggesting people avoid provincial testing centres, but rather that this gives Metis people more options.

He added that he believes the MMF system will be more effective because it can work directly with families.

In a statement, a provincial spokesperson said it currently takes about 30 seconds on average to make a COVID-19 testing appointment, and it takes an average of 22 hours to receive results. The province noted that the testing is also done at no charge to the client.

“Although the MMF are welcome to provide this redundant service, it is concerning as to how they intend to connect their test results with the public system to ensure appropriate contact tracing,” the statement said.

“It is important to follow up with positive cases so they are able to get the appropriate care and information on how to reduce the spread of the virus. This kind of follow-up is a key component of COVID-19 testing.”