LifeLabs operates medical testing facilities in B.C., Saskatchewan and Ontario. (The Canadian Press)

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

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk on Nanaimo’s Victoria Road

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Beef of the Week: Shame on the Chinese restaurant that uses peanuts instead of almonds on their almond chicken. This is not right.
Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 20

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Rendering of two residential buildings proposed for the corner of Haliburton and Milton streets. (Matthew T. Hansen Architect image)
Two five-storey residential buildings approved for Haliburton Street

City council issues development permit for 79-unit complex at Haliburton and Milton

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after suspicious device found in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read