The COVID-19 testing site in Chilliwack was seeing an obvious surge in demand on Monday morning (Sept. 21, 2020) with a lineup that wrapped around the block. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress file)

Fraser Health confirms expanded COVID-19 testing services coming

Long lines, several days waiting list as demand for testing surges in region

Fraser Health says they are looking at expanding COVID-19 testing services in the health region, following a surge in demand last week.

On Sept. 21, the wait time for a COVID-19 test in Chilliwack was about three and a half hours, at times with more than 100 people lined up around the block. In Abbotsford and Mission, those wanting testing done were being booked for two days later.

Fraser Health (FHA) says they are continually looking at ways to meet the needs of the communities in their region, and that increased services could happen soon.

“We apologize for any delays people may be experiencing at our COVID-19 test collection centres due to the significant demand we have been seeing throughout our region,” FHA stated via an email in response to a Chilliwack Progress story about the long waits.

READ MORE: COVID-19 testing lineup wraps around block in Chilliwack

“Many Fraser Health COVID-19 test collection centres, including Chilliwack, have seen a surge in demand in recent weeks. We are working very hard to make COVID-19 assessment and testing available to every person who needs it, and we are monitoring the daily volumes at each assessment and testing centre to ensure we can continue to do so.”

The services were previously expanded, and FHA confirmed they are “planning further enhancements over the coming days and weeks to help ensure people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can quickly receive a COVID-19 test and an assessment if they need one.”

That will include increasing staffing at some locations, as well as extending operating hours.

“We are currently working to increase staffing at the Chilliwack test collection centre, and increasing our hours of operation to include weekends,” they said.

Fraser Health’s 10 COVID-19 assessment and testing centres are mostly in partnership with local Divisions of Family Practice. They suggeset using the online booking system that allows people to book at their Surrey, Langley, and Burnaby test collection centres. Other communities will be added to the system soon, they added.

Fraser Health has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Chilliwack’s numbers have been low. Just four cases were confirmed in the city throughout August, while that number was 100 in Abbotsford.

READ MORE: Chilliwack children can get tested locally, Fraser Health confirms


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