COVID-19 test sites that closed in the Metro Vancouver area due to extremely cold weather reopened on Monday and were again quickly inundated with test seekers, resulting in overtime waits.
Vancouver Coastal Health last week closed its testing centers in St. Vincent and Vancouver International Airport amid record temperatures in the region. Before the closings, many people going to the sites had to queue for several hours to take a test, and with the reopening, it looks like the waits are just as long.
On Monday, a driver at the St. Vincent test center told CTV News Vancouver that she had been waiting more than three hours. A line of cars about a mile long was seen on Cambie Street, looping around King Edward Avenue.
This was despite the VCH sponsored Emergency Department Wait Times website indicating that the wait at this facility was only 30 minutes. CTV News Vancouver has contacted VCH for information on this discrepancy.
Meanwhile, the wait at the Richmond collection center on Monday afternoon lasted nearly five hours.
Even after standing in line, some can get a quick take home test. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry explained last week that “more accurate” PCR testing is a priority for those considered “at highest risk.”
In an effort to manage the capacity, Henry and VCH have asked some to forgo testing altogether.
“To preserve the testing capacity for those most at risk for COVID-19 right now, people do not need to be tested if they are fully immunized, have mild symptoms, and are able to self-isolate until symptoms improve, “VCH said Online when announcing the reopening of testing centers.
Those looking for other testing options in the VCH area can visit a testing site at the University of British Columbia, which only offers quick take-out tests, or visit a health center. emergency and primary care offering testing. According to the BC Center for Disease Control’s collection center dashboard, many of these locations are by appointment only.