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But he acknowledged there are “pockets” where wait times are higher, creating inconsistency in how long test results are taking to get back to a patient.
“Much of the variation among wait times for test results is based on the operational schedules of the testing sites including days and hours of operation, which has been influenced by the demand for testing,” Winkel wrote. “Some staff have also reverted back to regular duties, as part of the SHA service resumption plan.”
The extra staff — half of whom are part time — are expected to help free up operators to prioritize tests for callers with COVID-19 symptoms. Winkel said the authority also plans to introduce a “new software solution to improve information flow processes between 811 intake and testing/assessment sites.”
Winkel said people who believe they may need a test can also speak to their family physician for a referral or use the government’s online self-assessment tool.
Nine of new cases in communal living settings
Nine of the fourteen cases reported Friday have been traced to communal living settings, where ongoing outbreaks across the province have contributed to a rapid growth in the number of active cases in recent weeks.
There are currently 293 active COVID-19 cases in the province and there have been1,319 cases since March.
Fifteen people with the virus are in hospital, including six in intensive care.
A total of 202 COVID-19 cases in the province have been linked to travel, 659 to community contacts and 322 cases are in people who had no known exposures to the virus. The rest of the cases are still under investigation.