----- CISSSO's world class Covid testing?
Last year, our twin-city mayors combined efforts to lure Amazon here, highlighting our world-class national capital as a great place to live and work. Now that Covid-19 is here, how would they, or M. Pedneaud-Jobin actually, deliver on his promise to take care of those relocating here to work? Or even of those already living here?
Our attempt last week to schedule an appointment for Covid testing in Gatineau was inefficient to the point one wonders how this can be so in Canada? Our first day, the Quebec Covid Hotline (1-877-644-4545) and the Outaouais option yielded only music. Push #2 for callback...music just keeps playing. After 45 minutes, not knowing if there was someone on the other end, we hung up.
A search of “covid test sites near me” or “Covid test Gatineau” yielded three -- in Ottawa. None here. Does Quebec not synch with Google Maps? An expanded search brought more sites on the Ottawa side. Drive-through test sites require an OPHIP card.
My search on Gatineau's website, with their ‘Covid-19 updates’, yielded not one Gatineau test site. CISSSO's website listed, in one line, Gatineau's only test site, on St Raymond. There's no option for online appointments, only this primitive triage system, despite the contagiousness of Covid-19
Day 2, we went in person. There were 6 - 10 people at a hand-written poster on a flip chart, with 2 rocks holding the paper, with “COVID Testing” pointing to another door. It turned out these folks had appointments. The guard said there were none left today. Tomorrow? We needed to come back in person tomorrow.
Day 3, 15 minutes before opening and a dozen people before us. What if we didn’t have Covid but do now, standing in line with these people? Our appointment was for 7:50 PM...when did all the time slots get filled up?
The testing itself was professional, but we had to wait 7 days for results. How is this tenable? Already 2 days off work, we now had to add another 7 days? Elsewhere, including Ottawa, the wait averages 1-2 days, with an online link to check our results.
It’s been 5 days, with no results. The CISSSO site says we can call after 5 days. The number for results rings busy, or hangs up.
Next came a text message from CISSSO asking for our email address. We sent it. The automated email response: "Thank you for your inquiry about your Covid-testing results. Please foresee a delay of up to another 72 hours."
How can regular workers take on the costs of not working for over a week, due to our inefficient testing facilities? Can’t we do better than this?