Island Health receiving 2,000 calls per day for COVID-19 testing

Island Health receiving 2,000 calls per day for COVID-19 testing

The number of people seeking COVID-19 tests on Vancouver Island amid a spike in cases and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant is skyrocketing.

Island Health says it received approximately 2,000 calls per day for COVID-19 testing from Friday to Sunday, compared to its usual weekend amount of 600 calls per day.

The health authority says it has been working to increase staffing levels since early last week, including implementing overtime hours.

Island Health says the wait time to receive a call back was just under two business hours. A statement from the health authority notes it only counts wait times if the person has been waiting during business hours — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If someone calls in the late afternoon they may not receive a call until the morning, though the hours outside of business hours won’t be included in the wait time.

READ MORE: B.C. reports 2,550 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, 415 in Island Health

On south Vancouver Island, the increased demand for testing means when a caller receives a callback, their appointment could be approximately 48 hours later. Island Health says outside of the South Island, most people are able to access a test the same day they receive a callback.

Once a test has been administered, the average wait time to receive results is 10 hours.

Island Health is encouraging people to complete an online self-assessment or call 811 for advice before calling to book a test to address the increased demand.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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