COVID-19 testing: Some Metro Vancouver test sites warn of waits up to an hour or more
VANCOUVER -- Some COVID-testing sites in Metro Vancouver are warning people they could face waits of up to an hour or more.
Lineups could be seen on Thursday at drive up testing locations in Burnaby and Vancouver, which are managed on a first come, first serve basis.
Other centres which take appointments as well as walk-in visits, including Surrey, Maple Ridge and Langley are encouraging people to book ahead to try and avoid waits.
Burnaby’s Central Park Drive-Thru site in particular is telling people to expect wait times of up to two hours.
CTV spoke to a woman whose husband and three-year-old son went to get tested at the Burnaby site last Friday. We agreed not to use their names.
She said her husband and child arrived in time for the opening of the site at noon, but getting tested took hours.
"It was so busy at that point that they actually couldn’t even get in the line-up, because there was just no space in the parking lot to even enter the lineup," she said.
The two ended up circling the block for about half an hour before getting in line.
"From that point, it was about two and a half hours from entering the lineup to finally getting tested," she said, and added though they expected a wait, they were surprised by how busy it actually was. She would also like to see more testing sites available for younger children, especially with the return to school in the fall.
Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee encouraged people to call ahead to check on wait times and possibly look at visiting a site in a neighbouring community where there may not be as long of a wait.
"Fraser Health is monitoring our testing capacity very closely on a day to day basis and will ramp up our capacity as needed," Dr. Lee said, and added that could mean more testing at existing locations or new locations opening. "Right now, more than 900 people per day visit our sites."
Statistics from the BC Centre of Disease Control show the number of new laboratory tests being conducted daily across the province has been rising overall over the past month or so. While the climb has not been completely linear, with some days showing a drop, daily testing in July began to surpass 3,000 on some days, which hasn’t happened since March.
In Fraser Health, the number of daily new lab tests has not dropped below 600 since July 20.
Over the past month, average test turnaround times in B.C. have been less than two days.
Right now, anyone experiencing symptoms such as a cough or fever can be tested. If you have no symptoms, a test is not required.
People who are unsure about being tested can use the B.C. COVID self assessment tool online, or get advice by contacting 8-1-1 or their health care provider.
You can also find a list of testing centres online.