Nova Scotia family concerned about long wait for daughter's COVID-19 test
HALIFAX -- A family in Wolfville, N.S., is raising some red flags about the province's back-to-school plan and the length of time it can take to get tested for COVID-19.
Their teenage daughter has been sick since Thursday, and after a number of calls to the 811 health line, they were told it would take up to three days to get a COVID-19 test and another three days to get the results.
"I am very frustrated," said Amanda Pace. "She's not feeling well, and there's nothing we can do."
Her 15-year-old daughter started complaining of a migraine and chills last Thursday during classes in Halifax.
Following protocol, the school called 811 and was told she should probably have a COVID-19 test.
The message was passed on to her parents, Lorne and Amanda, who called to book one Friday.
The promised call back never came.
"So, I called again on Saturday morning," Amanda Pace said. "They said, 'Yes, she will need to have a test, and somebody will be in touch with you within 72 hours just to book the appointment for the test', and once that happens, it can be another 72 hours before she gets her results back."
Lorne Pace doesn't think it's right.
"Three days to have a test done, or even to be able to get in to get a test done, and then another three days after -- that's six days," he said.
At the time, they were told the girl should stay in her room while the appointment was booked, but the rest of the family was free to go about their business.
"She could have an ear infection," Amanda Pace said. "She could have the flu. There's a number of reasons you could have a migraine and a fever. So, to keep her locked up in her room for that long is just ridiculous."
While declining to comment on specifics, health officials say they're looking into the matter, but they're unaware of booking delays in that part of the province.
Assessment centres, they say, take action to arrange appointments as soon as the request come in from 811.
"It just makes me think of, what's going to happen when children are back in school," Amanda Pace said.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, says he recognizes that this situation may be creating fear and anxiety for parents, students and teachers.
"That is actually quite normal," he said.
In a video released by the Education Department Monday, the province's top doctor insists the back-to-school plan is well-thought-out and flexible -- ready to respond to potential problems.