More delays hinder Island Health COVID-19 call centre
According to Island Health, a technical issue at the health agency's COVID-19 call centre was resolved Monday afternoon: (File photo)
VICTORIA -- Vancouver Island residents hoping to get tested for COVID-19 may have run into lengthy wait times or complete disconnects when trying to contact the Island Health COVID-19 call centre this week.
Many island residents tell CTV News that call wait times lasted multiple hours, with some disconnecting altogether after hours on hold.
According to Island Health, the call centre experienced “a temporary technical issue” that was fixed by Telus late Monday afternoon.
Island Health staff worked well into the night Monday to try to work through a backlog of delayed calls.
"This is an unfortunate situation and we sincerely apologize to anyone who has been impacted," said Victoria Schmid, vice-president of pandemic planning for Island Health in a statement Tuesday.
"Efficient testing is a key aspect of our pandemic response and we thank everyone for their patience," she said.
According to Island Health, calls tend to peak during morning hours. If possible, residents should consider calling the health authority in the afternoon.
Island Health adds that residents should use the online B.C. COVID-19 self-assessment tool before contacting the call centre.
At the beginning of September, Vancouver Island’s top doctor told CTV News that the health authority was hiring more staff to handle a rise in requests for COVID-19 tests.
"In terms of the ability to get tested, we do know that we've had some problems with our call centre and we're remedying those," said Island Health's chief medical health officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick, on Sept. 3.
"We are basically increasing our staff – we hired three more people yesterday, we'll be getting four more next week – and we intend to hire 21 individuals so that people can get a faster, more efficient service," he said.
In August, Island Health told CTV News that the average maximum wait time to access a COVID-19 test was two days.