Opinion: Having only one Burnaby COVID testing site is being called a ‘joke’

Chris Campbell

Some people are starting to lose their cool when it comes to accessing COVID-19 testing and information.

Eric in Burnaby is one person who is fed up.

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He’s tired of calling 811 in vain. And he’s frustrated that Burnaby only has one COVID-19 testing site – the one in Central Park on the Burnaby/Vancouver border.

Eric is in his 70s and lives on the far-east side of the city.

“I don’t drive and getting around is hard, especially if you’ve not feeling well,” said Eric (who didn’t want to use his last name). “It’s a joke that a city as big as Burnaby only has one testing site set up. And that site is too focused on vehicles.”

People needing COVID tests can use the drive-through option, but as Eric said, that doesn’t help him much. Eric isn’t the only one. I’ve received other calls and messages in recent weeks from seniors who don’t drive who are upset with the situation.

It does seem frustrating that the COVID site was set up on the very edge of Burnaby instead of in the middle, although I'm sure at the time it was critical to set something up fast. Perhaps a second site would help people who don’t drive.

People’s frustrations with 811 are also well-known, although others say the service worked quickly for them.

Perhaps that’s why Fraser Health is reminding people of its virtual care service to help speed up access to care.

Fraser Health is encouraging people to use its Fraser Health Virtual Care service to connect them to health services in their communities. Fraser Health Virtual Care provides a gateway to phone and videoconference-based health services, helping people find the right service in a timely manner from the comfort of their own home.

Fraser Health Virtual Care is available to anyone that resides in the Fraser Health region. This service is available seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., by calling 1-800-314-0999.

A Fraser Health registered nurse supports individuals by conducting a health assessment, providing clinical advice and connecting people to additional care when needed. With consent, a summary of the conversation is sent to the person’s family practitioner or nurse practitioner to help ensure continuity of care. 

 

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