Fast-track COVID-19 virus testing is being provided in Red Deer at a drive-thru assessment centre that opened last weekend.
Alberta Health Services is not disclosing its location to protect the confidentiality of patients who are referred there for testing: “We want to limit unnecessary traffic to these centres whenever and wherever possible.”
The drive-thru assessment centre in Red Deer began operating March 14. As well, AHS is reporting that in-home testing being done, as needed. But there is no self-testing for COVID-19.
According to a statement issued Thursday by AHS, these assessment centres are not open to the public or walk-in traffic, but are only for those who are referred for testing.
The referral process is initiated by an 8-1-1 call to Health Link by individuals concerned they are showing symptoms of the virus.
AHS states: “We understand and appreciate that Albertans are eager to be tested. Testing is an important part of controlling the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Our public health teams continue to work to ensure those who need testing get it, as efficiently as possible.”
Callers who have been determined by Health Link nurses to need a test will then be contacted by AHS Public Health to arrange testing at the most appropriate location.
Those who have not heard back about a testing appointment within four days, are asked to please call 811 to confirm the testing referral.
AHS officials acknowledge that getting through on the Health Link line has been difficult for some people due “extremely high call volumes.” Additional staff is being trained and added to “expand capacity” and answer these calls.
“AHS remains well-positioned in terms of staffing and resources to provide testing to those who need it,” states the AHS release.
“We know this is a stressful and anxious time for many Albertans, and AHS teams are working hard around the clock as we response to COVID-19.”
AHS staff continue to work to reach all Albertans who are tested to provide their results; however given the high volume of test results, there can be delays. “Positive COVID-19 test results are being prioritized at this time in the interest of public health. All those tested will receive follow up calls.”
Albertans are encouraged to visit alberta.ca/covid19 for the latest information on the COVID-19 situation.