'Riverdale,' 'Batwoman' Restart Production After COVID-19 Testing Backlog

Riverdale S04E02 Still Madelaine Petsch - Publicity - H 2019
Colin Bentley/The CW

A number of popular TV series had been on pause due to shortage of rapid testing capacity in Vancouver last week.

U.S.-based TV series location shoots in British Columbia have begun to restart production after a number of popular shows were put on pause due to shortage of rapid COVID-19 testing capacity in Vancouver last week.

The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that production has resumed on CW's Riverdale and Batwoman series in Vancouver, while Warner Bros. TV is back to shooting the dramedy Maid for Netflix in nearby Victoria, B.C.

And Disney Television Studios said production has returned for its local series, including A Million Little Things, The Mighty Ducks and Big Sky.

The paused or delayed production last week was caused by one local commercial laboratory, LifeLabs, failing to process coronavirus tests within 72 hours as it diverted capacity to a resurgent public health care crisis.

It's understood that LifeLabs has contracted with a third party lab to help reduce the testing bottleneck for the private sector, including U.S. TV shoots, by increasing its testing turnaround times. Local U.S. series shoots also impacted by the bottleneck in virus testing capacity include CW's Charmed, Nancy Drew and the superhero shows Supergirl and DC Legends of Tomorrow.

LifeLabs, on which the local production sector is relying for quick results on COVID-19 tests, could not be reached for direct comment on Wednesday. But last week, the commercial lab told THR it was hiring more technicians to boost its capacity to meet a 48-hour turnaround standard for American shoots required as part of safety protocols for talent and crew.

U.S. and local industry reps are also working closely with LifeLabs and the B.C. Ministry of Health on a range of options to remove the rapid testing bottleneck. That includes securing rapid COVID-19 test kits coming onto the market that are similar to a home pregnancy test and could help identify positive coronavirus cases without having to entirely rely on hard-pressed commercial labs.