WINNIPEG -- The Province of Manitoba has put out a request for bids for serological testing kits which may help identify who has had COVID-19 – even if they didn't know it.

Last week, the Province of Manitoba posted the request on its government tendering website. The bid is for a supply of DiaSorin serological test kits from June 15 to March 31, 2021, as needed. It has requested quotes from vendors on how much it would cost to buy and deliver these kits to Manitoba.

"Serology will be a very important part of all of this. It will be important for us to know who has had COVID-19 and recovered," said Cameron Friesen, Manitoba's Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister, on Monday.

While the province has put out a request for bids, Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said when it comes to serological testing in the province, it's still early in the process.

He said the serological tests can help determine the spread of the virus, while also learning more about the extent to which antibodies may provide immunity to COVID-19.

"We're working nationally to develop an approach for a serial prevalence study," Roussin said on Monday during a COVID-19 news conference. "So it's best to try to get a consistent approach across the nation, because then we'll have a lot higher numbers to work with to get a better picture of the serial prevalence of COVID in Canada."

Roussin said the details of the tests are still pending and was not able to say when serological testing could begin in Manitoba.

"It's really important to pick the study groups well, so that it's going to give you a good representative sample to be able to extrapolate what proportion of the population has been infected," Roussin said. "For the most part, we're going to look at the national approach to determine which cohorts we're going to test first."