THE EDITOR: In the midst of the covid19 pandemic and the staggering increase in cluster spread, I share some concern based on my experience.
I developed flu-like symptoms and in light of age and existing co-morbidities, I decided to have a covid19 test.
On August 14, I had the test done at a recommended health centre, where several ill-looking people waited to be tested. Exposure to covid19 was quite probable in that environment.
To date, I have not received my test result. I called the hotline to find out how to go about obtaining the test result. On two occasions, I was on the phone for over an hour, listening to the recurring automated message.
When I finally got through a few days ago, the person informed me that someone has to go to the health centre to collect the result. Several people have related to me similar experiences.
The following are some of my concerns with what played out:
1. The long, frustrating period of waiting for a result, being in self-quarantine and being away from work.
2. The absence of a result when phone and e-mail contacts are given.
3. The increased risk of spreading the infection, if present, during this long waiting period.
4. The question of confidentiality and going to a high-risk environment to collect the result.
I offer here some recommendations:
1. Accelerate the process of releasing results so people can move on with their lives and be productive in their work outside of the home.
2. If not in place, have technicians around the clock, 24/7, performing testing.
3. Assess the high cost of testing at private facilities which are convenient for speedy results.
4. Increase the number of approved labs for testing.
5. For the hotline, consider hiring volunteers like retired medical personnel to answer calls 24/7.