Requests for COVID-19 tests surge on Vancouver Island as cases rise
The health authority says COVID-19 tests can usually be booked for the same day they are requested, or the following day. (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- Health authorities on Vancouver Island say they are being inundated with requests for COVID-19 tests as the province continues to see a surge in new coronavirus cases this week.
"Island Health is currently experiencing higher than normal call volumes to our COVID-19 testing call centre due to the increase in cases across B.C.," Island Health spokesperson Cheryl Bloxham told CTV News on Wednesday.
"We recognize the importance of early detection and follow up in preventing transmission of COVID-19 and are working as quickly as possible to decrease the wait times."
The health authority says COVID-19 tests can usually be booked for the same day they are requested, or the following day.
"Generally, the maximum wait time to access a COVID-19 test is two days," Bloxham said.
Island Health is currently working to recruit more staff to meet the demand for tests.
Anyone who thinks they may have contracted the virus or is experiencing symptoms is encouraged to use the province's online self-assessment tool to determine if a test is required before calling the testing centre.
"In B.C., people who do not have symptoms are not being tested, so be sure to do the self-assessment check first to determine if you need a test," Bloxham said.
The Island Health spokesperson said the COVID-19 call centre had a "technical difficulty that was causing issues" for callers who had been trying to book a test this week. The problem has been fixed but call volumes "are still very high," according to Island Health.