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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

People are complaining about how impossible it is to get tested for COVID-19 in Toronto

The province has apparently seen a bit of a rough transition to appointment-based testing at its COVID-19 assessment centres this week, at least in high-risk urban centres like Toronto.

Since Oct. 6, all testing units at Ontario hospitals and pharmacies have only been accepting patients with a scheduled appointment for a swab, which was supposed to help with the enormous lineups residents were previously waiting in to know if they had the deadly virus.

But due to the huge demand for tests as case numbers rise, people are finding it absolutely impossible to book a test in the province's largest city in recent days.

Citizens have been taking to social media to complain about not being able to access testing as we progress into the second wave and flu season, calling the whole situation "a mess," among other things.

With such short notice and no province-wide system in place, some Toronto hospitals have had their websites crash due to a surge of people trying to book tests.

Others turned to third-party platforms that are better able to handle a large number of customers attempting to access the same thing at once, such as ticket booking site EventBrite — which some found completely hilarious, especially when testing slots "sold out."

And still others are taking a more old-school route in the absence of a proper booking tool were taking appointments by phone.

No matter the method by which they take bookings, it seems that assessment centres across the city are all booked up for multiple days at the time of publication.

Many are calling desperately on politicians like Mayor John Tory and Premier Doug Ford to somehow resolve the issue ASAP, as proper testing is one of the key pillars of staying on top of the health crisis, and availability seems extremely limited at all facilities that currently offer it.

Ford and other health officials had previously said that the long lineups at centres were due, in large part, to too many people wanting to get tested when they didn't need to be — for "peace of mind" rather than because they had respiratory symptoms and/or were a close contact of a confirmed infection.

Along with venting about trying to nab a test slot, people have also been expressing their disdain with how the province has handled other aspects of the pandemic, noting Toronto's recent move to cut contact tracing in light of limited resources and Ontario's lagging reportage of cases of the communicable disease in school settings.

There is also the fact that even those who have managed to get a test are now waiting longer than ever for results; the province had such a large processing backlog that they actually had to start mailing specimens out to the U.S. to be analyzed earlier this week.

To be fair, Doug Ford did inform the public that there might be a day or two of delay in booking a slot for an appointment as the appointment-only model was rolled out — but residents were clearly not prepared for so many hiccups.

by Becky Robertson via blogTO

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