A Port Moody mom says B.C. is leaving its citizens in the dark about the severity of Omicron with its strict testing policies that are causing her and many other families needless worry and anxiety.
Lindsy — who asked that her last name not be published for privacy reasons — expressed her concerns to the Tri-City News after she was denied entry to the Coquitlam testing station even though she and her three kids had symptoms of fever and a sore throat.
She said the centre was empty when she arrived Wednesday (Jan. 19) in the hope of getting tested, but Lindsy was told to come back on Friday, the date of her appointment.
“I understand the value of appointments if there are long lines. I don’t understand why I can’t get a test if the testing site is vacant. If there aren’t enough tests, then order more or ask other provinces or countries for help. There seems to be an abundance everywhere else.”
NO DROP-INS ALLOWED AT TESTING CENTRES
Fraser Health requires people to get an appointment but states that testing is not necessary.
“People without appointments will be turned away and asked to go online or call to book an appointment. It's important to remember that if you have mild symptoms and are fully vaccinated, you do not need a test,” it states on its website.
But Lindsy said a test was necessary because she has a blood clot condition that could be made worse by COVID-19 and, if positive, she would need to reach out to her doctor.
As well, one of her children has asthma, and a positive test would help in diagnosing whether his breathing problems are from asthma or a more serious condition.
Her two older children have had a single dose of vaccine but her three-year-old, who is very sick, is ineligible for a shot.
A negative test meanwhile would mean her husband is not exposed and could return to work.
LONG WAIT CAUSING ANXIETY
Lindsy said all of these concerns have created a lot of anxiety for her family, something a quick test could have relieved.
“I’m fairly sure that this is COVID after the multiple exposure notices we have received this week and would like confirmation,” said Lindsy, adding: “As I said, other countries and provinces have maintained their testing standards. Why does it feel like we are on our own here?”
Fraser Health’s appointment requirements come as the Tri-Cities has seen a massive drop in positive cases, from 1,843 two weeks ago to 643 last week, according to data from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
Lindsy suspects many people are not bothering to get tested if they have to wait three or four days for an appointment.
“I honestly I think this has more to do with people just saying “forget it” when they go to book a test and it’s three to four days later. I think most people would rather just sit the five days out and assume it was a cold,” she said.
“Testing should be encouraged, not made exclusive by ‘well, prove you need one.’ It’s our only real transparency as far as how this thing is going. Otherwise the public in the dark.”
The Tri-City News has reached out to Fraser Health for a response as to whether it is considering a return to its first-come-first served testing policy at its Coquitlam testing and immunization centre.
A spokesperson said he is looking into the matter.
Meanwhile, Fraser Heath has opened a rapid testing site at Surrey, but it also requires an appointment.
"People with appointments will be provided a take-home rapid antigen COVID-19 test kit. People without appointments will be turned away and asked to go online or call to book an appointment," a press release states.
More rapid tests are supposed to be coming to B.C. in the coming weeks.
To book a test, visit here.