'This system is not working,' Kamloops moms say after struggling to get COVID-19 tests for children | Kamloops News | iNFOnews

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'This system is not working,' Kamloops moms say after struggling to get COVID-19 tests for children

September 23, 2020 - 2:29 PM

A growing number of Kamloops parents say they are frustrated after finding themselves unable to get a COVID-19 test for their children, as the health authority reports a 'steep increase in call volumes' since school started.

One mom of four, who wished to remain anonymous to protect her children's identity, said that it took four days of repeated calls before her six-year-old daughter was scheduled for a test.

"They’re doing what they can, and I get that. But this system is not working," she said.

"This system does not serve anybody in Kamloops."

She said her daughter first showed symptoms on Saturday, with a stuffy nose and cough. When she called the 811 nurse line, she was told to book an appointment for a COVID-19 test if her child showed more symptoms.

When her daughter developed a fever the next day she called back, and was told to call the Urgent Primary Care Centre to book a test.

But when she called, she found out through an automated voice message that the centre is no longer doing tests, and she had to call the Public Health Unit.

"I don't know why they wouldn't have up to date information," she said.

By that time, the sickness had spread to her other three children, who are all in elementary school. 

She's concerned, because if her daughter does have COVID-19, not only has her school been exposed, but families won't find out for another 24 to 48 hours after her test Sept. 22. 

In the meantime, she has put her life on hold, quarantining herself and her children from their father until they get the results.

"There just doesn’t seem to be any urgency," she said. 

Another Kamloops mom, who also asked to remain anonymous, has been trying to get her son tested for COVID-19 and has encountered the same long wait times and mixed messages from 811.

After following their direction and calling the Urgent Care Clinic, she called 811 again to inform them they were no longer doing testing.

"I called back to tell them this information is outdated, and they said they have been aware of the issue for about two weeks," she said.

"They've received multiple complaints."

In an email to iNFOnews.ca, an Interior Health representative confirmed that there is now only one testing site for COVID-19 in Kamloops.

"There was a transition of moving testing fully to Kamloops public health," Interior Health said.

"Testing site will be open Monday to Saturday, after this weekend."

Only urgent testing by physician referral will take place at Kamloops Urgent Primary Care Centre going forward. They added that the information for testing sites on the Interior Health webpage has now been updated, as have 811 operators. 

"The delay last weekend with booking appointments was a unique situation as we transitioned COVID-19 testing to the public health unit and, concurrently, saw a steep increase in call volumes after school started," Interior Health said. 

According to Interior Health, typical wait times for COVID-19 testing appointments are 24 hours.  

To book a test at the public COVID-19 testing centre, call the Kamloops Public Health Unit at 250-851-7467. 

To determine whether your symptoms require a COVID-19 test, you can call 811. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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