FILE – Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

FILE – Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

COVID testing ‘available’ but B.C. officials, health authorities can’t agree on who qualifies

Health authority websites directed those wanting a COVID-19 test to use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool

Although testing is available in most cities across the province, B.C.’s top health officials were unable to provide clarity this week about who qualifies.

Health authority websites for all five regions – Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, Island Health, Interior Health and Northern Health – state that either symptoms or an official COVID-19 exposure close contact notice is required for testing.

However, the message from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry seemed to differ.

“Our message out there is if you have any concerns, get tested, and we have testing available for people everywhere,” she said in response to a question at Monday’s COVID update about people getting turned away from test sites because they had neither symptoms nor an official exposure notice, returning to the test site claiming to have symptoms, and then testing positive.

“So I have heard anecdotes of that as well,” Henry acknowledged.

“What I’ve said is that if people are concerned that they’ve been exposed, we’re doing a lot of asymptomatic testing and people have been exposed. If people have somebody they know who’s been exposed or tested positive, then they absolutely they should be tested.”

When Black Press Media asked the province’s health authorities if they were testing anyone who showed up, it was redirected to the province. The province did not directly answer the question, but provided audio from a scrum with Health Minister Adrian Dix on Wednesday.

“People are concerned. And they’ll be concerned for a number of reasons. They’re concerned because they have symptoms. They’re concerned maybe because if someone they know has symptoms, then our approach in general has been to encourage people to get tested. And that continues to be the case. I think I was there on Monday when Dr. Henry said that, and I think that continues to be the case,” Dix told reporters.

Several health authority websites directed those wanting a COVID-19 test to use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool, which states an individual does not need a test unless they have symptoms or have been contacted by a health authority.

On Island Health’s website, the health authority states “If an individual has no symptoms, they do not require a test. Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones.”

Northern Health states that “while testing has expanded, not everyone needs a test. COVID-19 testing is not recommended for people without symptoms.”

On Fraser Health’s website, the messaging includes that “anyone with mild symptoms should be tested. If you are a close contact of a confirmed case, even with no symptoms, you should get tested seven days after exposure.”

READ MORE: Can you mix and match COVID vaccines? New Canadian study seeks to find out

READ MORE: Pregnant or breastfeeding and got the COVID vaccine? B.C. researchers launch registry


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read