N.S. to explore new system that would allow online registration for COVID-19 testing
Published Friday, September 25, 2020 10:42PM ADT
HALIFAX -- Patients who have spent days waiting for 811 to call back to book a COVID-19 test are calling on Nova Scotia to adopt a more streamlined system.
Other provinces allow people to book COVID-19 tests online, and Nova Scotian patients believe that process should start here.
As calls to 811 climb, so do patients' calls to shorten wait times.
"You have to take 10 days or eight days off of work," said Joanna Clark, who was tested for COVID."That's not feasible for some parents."
CTV News has heard from several Nova Scotians the past two weeks who say they've waited hours on the phone with 811 and sometimes more than a week to get a COVID test.
Kyle Johnson is relieved he got tested Friday, but wishes he didn't have to already miss five days of work or cancel his tooth surgery to make it happen.
"It's a little frustrating still, 'cause I don't know if I'm going to be able to go back to work Monday," Johnson said. "This whole waiting game is a little stressful."
In Nova Scotia, patients call 811 and wait for a call back before booking an appointment.
In Alberta, patients can go online to book a test and Johnson thinks that should happen here.
"A sort of online form would be great," Johnson said.
The leader of the opposition agrees, adding anything to make access to testing easier is a good thing.
"We don’t have to invent the wheel in every situation we can look to other jurisdictions to see what’s happening there and we can follow their lead," said Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston.
Since the start of September, 811 has seen a surge in calls.
The province brought in extra staff to help and says it's exploring other opportunities for assessing individuals with COVID symptoms.
Clark waited eight days from the time she called 811 to the time she got her test. She hopes something changes soon.
"There needs to be more resources put into testing and testing centres and reducing that wait time," said Clark.
Nova Scotia's top doctor says everyone acknowledges the longer wait times are not appropriate.
Dr. Robert Strang says the province is looking at a system where patients could book COVID appointments online, with appropriate screening so no one who is ill is missed.