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

Keremeos winery co-owned by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C.’s provincial health officer is part of the original ownership group of Clos du Soleil in Keremeos

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

EDITORIAL: Revisiting alcohol consumption

A proposal to allow alcohol consumption in some public spaces in Penticton deserves consideration

Chute Lake Lodge opens June 1, offering glamping, yurt, and ebike rentals

Escape into the wilderness and #lovelocalpenticton when Chute Lake Lodge reopens for the season

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

District offers safety tips after cougar spotted near Lake Country school

The animal was seen on a walking trail near Peter Greer Elementary Saturday morning

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Shuswap man reported missing by RCMP has been found unharmed

Salmon Arm resident apologizes for having caused anyone concern

Emergency crews rush youth to hospital after quadding accident in West Kelowna

West Kelowna Fire Rescue’s new off-road vehicle was used in the rescue

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

Most Read