COVID-19 testing appointments booked up in Revelstoke, Interior Health said it is working to add capacity

COVID-19 test bookings in Revelstoke maxed out, Interior Health says it is trying to add more capacity, reminds residents to self-isolate if experiencing symptoms.

File photo: A COVID-19 testing centre at Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

All available COVID-19 test appointments in Revelstoke have been booked up in recent days, and Interior Health is now scheduling appointments for a few days in the future.

The new wave of bookings come as the more contagious Omicron variant sweeps across Canada and the world. New COVID-19 restrictions came into effect in B.C. today, and Quebec announced new sweeping closures including schools, bars, casinos, theatres, gyms and spas and a new work-from-home order.

Some testing sites in the Lower Mainland experienced long delays over the weekend.

The surge in COVID-19 test booking in Revelstoke came late last week. Appointments at the testing centre at Queen Victoria Hospital were available late in the week, and more became available each day, but were booked up by the end of the day.

On Monday, Dec. 20, tests were booked by the morning time.

New testing appointments become available at 9 p.m. each day and new tests are sometimes added during the day, such as when additional capacity is added.

Currently, Interior Health’s next appointments are being booked for Thursday, Dec. 23, although staff said it was possible new appointments at earlier dates could be added.

An Interior Health spokesperson said: “More appointment spaces are added each night to the online booking site and in addition to the future test availabilities in Revelstoke coming online every night, we are working to add additional appointment capacity to support this increased demand for COVID-19 testing in the Revelstoke community.”

Revelstoke Mountaineer requested more detailed information statistics on the number of appointments booked, but Interior Health did not provide data in its response to our questions.

Small increase in Revelstoke case rate

According to the latest available data for the Revelstoke Local Health Area (LHA) from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, Revelstoke had a daily COVID-19 case rate of 5 per 100,000 for the week including Dec. 10-16. This is a small increase from the previous corresponding weekly period, when it was 2 per 100,000. The next update will come on the afternoon of Tuesday, Dec. 21.

Province to announce update on testing kits Dec. 21

The province is scheduled to make an update including information on personal testing kits on Tuesday, Dec. 21. Provincial health leaders have faced sustained criticism for not making take-home tests available to the public like other provinces have, despite having received the testing devices from the federal government.

Reminder to self-isolate

Interior Health is reminding people who have COVID-19 symptoms to self-isolate, saying anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness should stay home when they feel sick, “whether they are tested for COVID-19, or not.”

It encouraged residents to use a self-assessment tool if they have symptoms.

Aaron Orlando is a Revelstoke-based journalist who serves as creative director of and Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. He's been on the news beat in Revelstoke for the past 14 years, serving in senior editorial roles. If you have or call/text him at 250-814-8710.