Returning Pax Report At-Home COVID Testing System ‘Dysfunctional’

COVID self-test
COVID self-test

Medical professionals are worried that problems being reported about at-home testing required of Canadian arrivals may result in frustrations that lead to non-compliance – and the possible transmission of new variants of the virus in Canadian communities.

CBC reports a multitude of complaints in social media against the company paid $100million by the government to process the tests.

All land and air arrivals into Canada are required to quarantine for a total of 14 days. They must have a negative test before arriving into Canada, and take another at their point of entry into the country, which is administered at the border.

After two negative tests, a third test must be self-administered at home. That’s where the system appears to be falling apart for many returning travellers.

Qurantined passengers’ complaints include:

Social Media Posts via CBC TV
Social Media Posts via CBC TV
  • Hours-long wait times to do the test on a video call with a nurse monitoring the test to ensure it’s performed correctly;
  • Incorrect serial numbers;
  • Delays in test results resulting in unnecessary, prolonged quarantine; and even
  • Missing test results resulting in unlimited quarantine “limbo” as one traveller describes his 18-day home quarantine until the issue was sorted out.

“We fulfilled our part of the agreement,” says one traveller in the report, Melisande Bodiguel, “But the Government of Canada and Switch Health did not. And that’s unfair.”

On its part, the company says glitches have been resolved.

Third tests used to be administered on Day 10 and have been moved back to Day 8 of quarantine to allow more time for results to be confirmed before quarantines are due to end after fourteen days.

Quarantined travellers are being given specific appointments for video calls for a nurse to supervise self-administration of the tests.

And tests are now being picked up on weekends, too, to reduce delays in processing.

But the issues raise questions about the capacity and operational efficiencies in the government’s system if testing returning pax will be a part of Canada’s return to travel and (eventually) growing numbers of returning Canadians arriving at our borders.

WATCH the full report here:

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