'Positive or negative, you don't even care': N.S. woman in isolation for 11 days, still waiting for COVID-19 test results
HALIFAX -- A Nova Scotia woman is speaking out about the lengthy delay she is experiencing getting her COVID-19 test results.
Cassandra Dlugozima says she was notified by public health on Saturday, May 1 that she was exposed to COVID on Thursday, April 29. Dlugozima booked the first COVID test available in her community of Greenwood, N.S. for Tuesday, May 4 and separated herself from her husband, two-year-old child, and mother -- who all live together.
Eleven days after being exposed to the virus and six days after getting her first COVID-19 test, Dlugozima says she is still waiting for her results.
"I'm supposed to go for my second follow-up test tomorrow without actually knowing the results of my first test," Dlugozima said in an interview with CTV News. "It gets to the point where positive or negative you don't even care you just want to find out because the waiting and the anticipation, it's a lot."
Dlugozima said every number she has called and every email she has sent has only given her an automated response and no direction on what to do.
"It's a big feeling of helplessness because there really is nothing I can do," she said.
The lab that processes COVID tests in Nova Scotia had been experiencing a backlog of tens of thousands of tests. However, officials say the backlog has now been eliminated.
"The backlog in the lab is now dealt with," said Dr. Todd Hatchette, the NSHA's chief of microbiology.
"It's really important that Nova Scotians go out and get tested. There are lots of options, we have the rapid pop-up clinics, we have the traditionally Primary Assessment Centers, all of these are there to ensure that Nova Scotians can get their tests and make testing a regular part of their day-to-day life for the next little while," he said.
Dr. Robert Strang says Public Health have been steadily making progress addressing their own case backlog.
On Friday, there were about 200 positive COVID-19 cases that Public Health needed to contact. On Monday, the backlog was under 100.
"Many of the backlogged cases were reported in our numbers over the last few days and some may continue to show up for a day or two. But by midweek, I expect the backlog will be cleared and we will be back to our usual process," he said.
Strang estimates there are about 8,000 Nova Scotians currently in isolation because of COVID.
Dlugozima is understanding that public health staff are busy, but wants answers as she continues to isolate away from her family.
"I get it, and it's a very tough situation for public health, but at the same time, people do have lives and we aren't just statistics on the COVID positive or the COVID negative side," she said. "We are people and we do have lives to live and making us wait this long for results does have detrimental effects on our mental health and our family lives."