Sackville N.B. pushing for its own COVID testing site
SACKVILLE, N.B. -- New Brunswick is working to create COVID-19 testing sites outside of major urban areas.
It's been an issue in places like Sackville, where border restrictions are preventing residents from being tested closer to home.
Sackville is one of several areas in New Brunswick that doesn’t have a COVID-19 testing site.
For residents who need a test, their only option is to drive to Moncton, which is the closest testing site.
"A lot of people that live in my riding don’t live in Sackville, they live even further away from Moncton, so they may need to drive an hour or so to get to Moncton, so it's important that we have testing sites in rural areas," said Memramcook-Tantramar MLA Megan Mitton.
Mitton says she’s been advocating for a new testing site in the Sackville area for months.
"There are many people in our communities in rural areas who don’t have a vehicle or the cost of travel is prohibitive, especially with the new rules that have been brought in around the border," Mitton said. "That has increased the need in Sackville."
Without a testing site, the risk of spreading COVID-19 without knowing is a possibility that worries residents.
"I think it would encourage more people to go for testing, because my gut says if you cant afford to go to Moncton for a test, if you can't take time off work because you risk losing your job, maybe you don't get tested," said Sackville resident Lindsay Cary.
Members of the community, including the mayor, sent a letter to the province in October, requesting a local testing facility, but they have yet to hear of any concrete plans.
"This is certainly something we've been thinking about and asking for as a community for quite some time," said Jamie Burke, the town of Sackville's manager of corporate projects.
There is no exact timeline as to when or if a testing site will emerge in the Sackville area, however, health officials are pointing to the possibility of creating more testing centres.
"The (regional health authorities) have been working with us and we are looking at four or five more locations and one did open today in Clair," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health.
But as cases continue to rise in the province, people here say now is the time to have a testing centre closer to home.