Kaiser Permanente Registered Nurse Rosa Aceves conducts a COVID-19 test at a drive up testing location at the Kaiser Permanente Fremont Medical Center in Fremont on March 11, 2020. (Photo by Doug Oakley)

Langford mom of five sick children struggles to get COVID-19 tests

Family stayed in hotels in February due to flooding, told they don’t meet criteria for screening

A Langford mom who believes one of her five children could be infected with COVID-19 says she can’t get a referral in order to have her daughter tested for the virus.

Jacquey Best’s 14-year-old daughter, Nevaeh, started exhibiting symptoms last Thursday — which Best says came on within a matter of hours. When Nevaeh’s fever would not subside, Best called 911 and rushed her to the hospital. After five hours of waiting in the emergency room, with a mask covering their faces, the family was told to go home and get tested for COVID-19.

The Best family spent most of February staying in hotels after their home was damaged due to the major flooding the region went through. “He understood we had stayed in hotels and said it was likely that we were high risk and to just go home, not be in public and to get tested but we haven’t been able to get tested — and now all my kids have fevers,” says Best.

Her five children, aged of four to 14, are all exhibiting symptoms now and so is Best.

READ ALSO: B.C. dentists to suspend all elective, non-essential dental work due to COVID-19

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses, including the flu and the common cold — such as cough, sneezing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing. Last week Island Health opened a referral-only COVID-19 screening clinic in Victoria to help support testing people for the virus. Only primary care providers or an 811 nurse is able to provide a referral, but Best says the phone lines are “clogged up” making it impossible to get a referral.

Best says she’s called both 811 and Victoria Health Unit 15 to 20 times each day since Thursday but has had no luck getting through. She says she called her doctor’s office as well but was told they haven’t been given instruction on how to deal with COVID-19 so they couldn’t help her.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: What’s open and closed in B.C. as a result of the novel coronavirus

“There shouldn’t be panic out there but there’s going to be if [people] can’t get tested and get that peace of mind,” says Best.

On Monday afternoon, Best was finally able to get in contact with Island Health and was told despite having stayed in hotels with other travelers her daughter did not meet the criteria in place for COVID-19 screening.

In response to the pandemic, the province launched a new dedicated phone service to give B.C. residents the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, as well as access to support and resources from the provincial and federal governments. The phone line — 1-888-COVID19 — is non-medical, in an effort to allow 811 healthcare professionals to support more people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who require assistance with other health issues. The phone line is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week with information available in more than 110 languages.

Best believes her children could have the virus and will continue to stay inside and self-quarantine until they can be tested.

“I believe my kids are young enough that if there’s a chance they do have this, I think they’re going to be O.K. but for anyone who’s older and elderly, I think they need to be stepping this up,” says Best.

As of Monday, B.C. has a total of 103 cases of COVID-19.

Vancouver Coastal, Fraser, Interior and Island health regions. According to a joint statement from Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officers and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, six of the confirmed cases are people in acute care, five have fully recovered and the rest are self-isolating at home.

To read more on COVD-19 visit vicnews.com/tag/coronavirus.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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