Wait times for COVID testing are completely unacceptable
To the Editor:
Wait times to get results from COVID-19 tests are completely unacceptable right now and I would argue if Slave Lake did have an outbreak, by the time the test results came back it would have spread all over the town. Let me explain. At the end of August, I had a sore throat and was feeling stuffed up. I did the online assessment which said I needed to self isolate and go get a COVID-19 test. I got in the next day for my test’ and then I sat at home for the next seven days waiting for my results. By day five I was sitting by the phone waiting for the call, calling the public health nurse to check and looking at myhealth records online. There was nothing. When I didn’t get a call by day six I was worried that they lost my test and I was waiting in vain. I was very frustrated and angry with the whole process at this point. And finally, on day seven I got a phone call. It was negative. Which I suspected in the first place because I knew about five people who had head colds and tested negative for COVID and I had the same symptoms as them.
Now I’m sure some people enjoy sitting at home and not leaving their house, but I am not one of those people. It was painful to not be able to go out for a walk with my dog or take my children to the park. Nobody else in my family had any symptoms at all so they were free to go about their business.
But this is the problem; they could have all been asymptomatic carriers, spreading it around town and nobody would know. Or the people I came into contact with before I had symptoms, but while still presumably contagious, could have got it and spread it around town. I think we need to ask ourselves, “What good is the test when we don’t get results in a timely manner?”
I know someone who is on day eight of self-isolation waiting for test results. They are angry, stressed and disappointed at the system that forces them to stay in their house, but honestly at this point, for no good reason.
According to the government website, after 10 days of your first symptoms appearing (if your symptoms are gone) you are no longer legally required to self isolate. So the self-isolation period ends and the test results come in on the same day? How is that preventing the spread of COVID-19? It’s not.
If the government wants us to follow the laws they have put in place, they need to make sure the laws make sense and are actually beneficial to the communities we live in. The current wait times for results are completely unacceptable and our government needs to do better!
The health of our community depends on testing and accurate, timely results. If they can’t do that then they should save themselves some money and stop testing altogether. I urge everyone who agrees with me to write to our MLA and the health minister to express your concerns.