Riverdale, Supergirl among BC TV productions put on hold by COVID-19 testing delays

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VANCOUVER – Delays for COVID-19 test results put filming of some TV shows on hold in B.C. Although not required or even recommended by public health, some productions are incorporating COVID-19 testing into their security plans, and an overall increase in demand for testing means some shows are on hiatus while they wait. CTV News Vancouver has learned that shows temporarily halting production include popular series like Riverdale, Supergirl, Nancy Drew and Charmed. Entertainment industry publication Variety reports that shows such as Batwoman and Big Sky have also suspended filming.

Kendrie Upton, executive director of the Directors Guild of Canada BC, told CTV News the breaks are a testament to the level of care that productions take to their teams to keep people safe.

“We understand that some productions have experienced brief delays while waiting for their test results to come back,” Upton said. “Any level of testing is integrated into the security plan. Every production must have a safety plan in British Columbia as per WorkSafe guidelines, just like every industry and company. ”

According to the British Columbia Ministry of Health, asymptomatic testing is not recommended as a condition of use and can result in false positives and negatives. However, mandatory testing schemes were encouraged by the Screen Actors Guild.

Industry group CreativeBC did not respond to an interview request from CTV News, but said in an email that it was in contact with the province about delay issues.

“We understand that test capability is an issue and that parties are working to manage the volume. We understand that the situation is temporary, ”the group said.

The health ministry said private CTV News companies must use a private lab such as LifeLabs to perform tests at their own expense, and all positive results must be reported to public health.

In an emailed statement, LifeLabs said it was experiencing increased demand and would expand its capacity.

“Testing samples to support public health efforts to control the pandemic continues to be a priority for LifeLabs. We also understand and appreciate the importance of non-public health testing in meeting the needs of business and travel, ”the statement said.

LifeLabs said it plans to revert to standard test turnaround times by the end of the week.

“In the meantime, turnaround times for non-public health tests to meet business and travel needs have been affected. “

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