Vancouver Coastal Health announces expanded access to COVID-19 testing

Apr 28 2020, 10:05 am

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) says that it’s making testing more widely available as British Columbia proceeds to the next phase of its COVID-19 strategy.

The health authority said that anyone in the Vancouver Coastal region with cold, influenza, or COVID-19-like symptoms can receive a test, even if their symptoms are mild.

Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to other respiratory illnesses and include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, painful swallowing, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, or loss of appetite.

“Testing can be done through a primary care provider, walk-in clinic, urgent and primary care centre, or community collection centre,” says VCH.

While testing is being expanded, however, the health authority stresses that “not everyone needs a test” and that they aren’t recommended for individuals that aren’t showing symptoms.

VCH adds that while any individual can be tested, priority is still being given to the following groups of people:

  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Individuals who require admission to hospital or are likely to be admitted
  • Individuals near term, patients on hemodialysis, or cancer patients receiving treatment
  • Healthcare workers
  • Individuals with a higher probability of being infected such as case contacts and travellers who recently returned to Canada
  • Residents of remote, isolated, or Indigenous communities
  • People living in congregate settings
  • People who are homeless or have unstable housing
  • Essential service providers

In order to arrange a test, residents are asked to contact their physician or practitioner’s office, or a local community collection centre.

Nearby facilities that are equipped for testing can be found online or by calling 8-1-1.