LifeLabs operates medical testing facilities in B.C., Saskatchewan and Ontario. (The Canadian Press)

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

The LifeLabs group of medical testing facilities is reducing public hours at its patient service centres in B.C. and Ontario as it shifts resources to assisting health ministries with COVID-19 testing.

Some of the company’s facilities are closed and others are restricting hours as non-essential testing capacity is moved to take medical referrals for coronavirus testing, LifeLabs president Charles Brown said in a letter to customers March 30. The company is currently handling 600 tests a day in B.C. and 1,000 a day in Ontario.

“Please note, we are not testing for COVID-19 at our patient service centres,” Brown said, citing the need for providing essential medical tests and managing with “a global shortage of protective equipment for our front-line staff.”

LifeLabs urges customers to use its online appointment booking and “save my spot” app to reduce walk-in traffic and allow physical distancing in its public facilities.

People concerned about COVID-19 exposure or symptoms are being referred to the B.C. health ministry’s self-assessment website to get direction on their personal situation. Additional staff has been added to B.C.’s 8-1-1 HealthLink phone line, which also has web advice on health conditions.

B.C. has established an additional toll-free phone line at 1-888-268-4319 (1-888-COVID19) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. seven days a week for non-medical information about the virus. That includes the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, as well as access to support and services from the provincial and federal governments.

RELATED: B.C. ramps up, refocuses its COVID-19 testing capacity

RELATED: Canada expands wage subsidy for businesses, non-profits

B.C. has increased its COVID-19 testing capacity to about 3,000 per day with health authority labs and the assistance of LifeLabs. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says testing has increasingly focused on daily checks of employees in hospitals and long-term care homes, where there has been a series of infection clusters that have resulted in deaths of people with underlying chronic health issues.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Weed Warrior: an invasive weed, new to the East Kootenay

Wild Parsnip is a plant that most of us don’t want to have a Close Encounter of any Kind with

Selkirk graduation in Kimberley will look very different this year

We have all had to change things in the face of the… Continue reading

Council to write letter of support for Kimberley Dynamiters

KIJHL teams all seeking financial support from the provincial government in wake of COVID-19

City Hall reopens Monday, June 1 with new safety measures in place

After carefully plotting out how and when to re-open its facilities while… Continue reading

Possible Kermode Bear spotted near Castlegar

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run on May 27

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read