As the Omicron variant of concern starts to rack up COVID-19 cases in BC, some testing sites in Metro Vancouver are experiencing hours-long waits.
Many wait times for COVID-19 testing centres in the Vancouver Coastal Health region are posted online. In the morning on Sunday, December 19, a couple of the centres had wait times of over an hour.
Daily Hive reached the Ministry of Health, who said that they’re “seeing an increased number of people getting tested and are aware there may be longer than anticipated wait times at some COVID-19 testing sites, including in the Lower Mainland.”
They said that they strongly advise those asymptomatic people to refrain from accessing testing services to allow frontline providers to prioritize care to those who are most likely to be infected.
They also said that before you visit a testing site, they advise all residents to complete BC’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to ensure they require a test.
In a video shared on Reddit, dashcam footage shows a line-up of vehicles on Cambie Street by the St. Vincent Collection Centre. This centre has both a drive-thru and walk-in option and had wait times of two hours and twenty minutes in the morning on Sunday, December 19.
If you didn’t know that they were waiting for a COVID-19 test, you might think the cars were parked along Cambie.
At the North Vancouver COVID-19 Collection Centre, wait times were posted as an hour and 40 minutes. At the Richmond Collection Centre, they were an hour long.
Wait times for the Three Bridges Centre in downtown Vancouver were not posted. During the week, the facility had a long line up of people along Hornby Street waiting for testing.
@j_mcelroy It seems they are now offering COVID-19 rapid tests at the Three Bridges COVID testing site in Downtown Vancouver to cope with huge lineups.
My partner just went expecting a two hour wait and came home with this 15 minutes later! pic.twitter.com/ZfbulRcidR
— Jack Bacon (@JackVWBacon) December 17, 2021
— Taehoon Kim 김태훈 (@tkimphoto) December 16, 2021
For more information on COVID-19 testing available in BC, you can check out the BCCDC website.
On Friday, December 17, BC announced that it had more than 300 Omicron COVID-19 cases in the province and brought in new restrictions amidst the surge.
As BC lags behind the rest of Canada with COVID-19 rapid tests, you may want to expect a wait at the local testing centre.