Is B.C. doing enough COVID-19 testing? A Victoria doctor says no
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has a capacity to test more than 20,000 people a day for COVID-19. But on Tuesday only 5,900 were tested, followed by 8,900 on Wednesday.
Compare that to Ontario, where more than 50,000 people were tested one day this week, and more than30,000 a day in Quebec.
"I'm concerned. I don't think we are testing nearly enough. Our test positivity rate in all the health regions are now high," said Victoria-based palliative care and family physician Dr. Amy Tan.
The seven-day average test positivity across B.C. is 8.2 per cent. It's more than double that in the Northern Health region.
"When the test positivity goes up that much, it's an indication of community spread. But it's also an indication of whether or not you are testing enough. And we aren't testing enough," said Tan.
In December, Dr. Bonnie Henry updated B.C.'s testing criteria to focus on two groups: people who had contact with a known positive case and have any symptoms at all, and people with any of the four most common COVID symptoms.
Health Minister Adrian Dix says, "We test what we need to test, we test symptomatic people in B.C."
But Dr. Tan thinks testing needs to be expanded.
"I would like to appeal to the government to actually open back up the testing criteria so we get on top of what is going on," she said. "Please increase the testing parameters such that more people can be tested. Please allow for asymptomatic testing, especially for people who have contacts with positive cases."
Tan says unless testing is ramped up, it's impossible to know how B.C.is really faring compared to other Canadian provinces that are now experiencing post holiday surges.
"I think we aren't testing enough and our testing strategy is leaving a lot of questions unanswered," she said