PEI·Video

Wait times shorter Tuesday as P.E.I. continues asymptomatic testing

Though the wait times were shorter, lines were the norm as people in their 20s continued to show up for testing at P.E.I.’s clinics Tuesday.

Stratford clinic closed Wednesday

Lines continued to wrap around the designated parking lots at Charlottetown's Park Street drive-thru clinic Tuesday. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Though the wait times were shorter, there were still long lines and multi-hour waits for some, as people in their 20s continued to show up for testing at P.E.I.'s clinics Tuesday.

This comes after the province asked all those 20 to 29 in the Charlottetown area to get tested — whether they have symptoms or not — with the goal of detecting and isolating asymptomatic cases.

"That was definitely not what we were expecting," said Laura Lefebvre, who waited over seven hours to be tested at Charlottetown's Park Street Clinic on Monday.

"Everyone was super nice there and super considerate based on how long we had waited, but to get to that point was a bit excruciating."

P.E.I. tested about 2,000 people on Monday, but Craig Cooper was not one of them.

Cars started lining up at the Slemon Park testing clinic in Summerside before it opened at 8 a.m. (Nicola MacLeod/CBC)

He and his son went to be tested at the Stratford clinic just before noon. They waited for a while before a traffic flow mishap put them at the back of the line.

Instead of going through the line again, they headed across the Hillsborough Bridge to the Park Street clinic. Their line moved incrementally over the course of the afternoon and it was dark by the time they approached the testing facility. 

There were complaints on Monday after Islanders waited hours at the Park Street testing clinics without access to washroom facilities. Portable toilets were added on Tuesday. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Around 5:30 p.m., the clinic staff and volunteers started to inform those waiting that it had reached capacity and they would have to return another time.

"They were just completely overwhelmed with the capacity," Cooper told CBC News on Tuesday. "I felt bad for them, but I also felt bad for us … we're going to have to go through this all over again."

Due to the overwhelming response on Monday, P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison made an amendment to the testing request during Tuesday's briefing, limiting who should be going for testing in the coming days, while also applauding P.E.I.'s young adults for their response. 

'Tremendous' response to testing call for 20-somethings, P.E.I. official says 

PEI

5 months ago
1:27
P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Heather Morrison says the province is trying to prioritize and manage the high demand for COVID-19 tests after a 'tremendous' response to calls for widespread testing of 20-29 year old Islanders.   1:27

On Tuesday, Islanders reported a shorter wait to CBC News. 

Those who travelled outside of Charlottetown first thing in the morning for their voluntary test reported shorter wait times, under an hour in Montague and just over an hour in Summerside.

In Stratford, some were tested in under two hours, while lines at the Park Street clinic continued to wrap around the designated parking lots, with some Islanders reporting wait times around four hours. 

Each row was processed in 30 to 40 minutes at the Stratford testing clinic. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

P.E.I. has extended testing hours at several clinics in order to accommodate the demand. Officials told CBC News the Stratford clinic is not open Wednesday.

At the time of Tuesday's 11:30 a.m. briefing, Morrison said half of Monday's tests had already been processed.

All results were negative.

Reminder about symptoms

The symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
  • Possible loss of taste and/or smell.
  • Sore throat.
  • New or worsening fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.

More from CBC News

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicola MacLeod is a reporter with CBC in P.E.I.

with files from Nicole Williams

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