Muskoka resident frustrated at Covid-19 test results delay required to visit his 100 year old mother

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Agatha Farmer

Muskoka resident Everet Mcllwain has to provide a Covid-19 negative test in order to see his 100 year old mother. He has done his part and went to get tested at a Muskoka Assessment Centre. Mcllwain says he has been waiting for his results for over a week. He said that he has contacted health services but it has "not helped."

"I’ll be due for another test before I even see my mother," he said.

Mcllwain has been checking the Covid online results website twice a day.

"I called public health; they did return my call the next day. They did not have any results for us but did say that they only get and track positive results. This doesn’t help those that need results to visit loved ones in long term care. By the time we may get results we’ll have to have another Covid test and start over. This is a flaw in the system. It’s a great idea for allowing loved ones to visit in long term care but they didn’t think it through and how to expedite it," he said.

On Friday a doctor from the Covid Assessment Centre called Mcllwain with an update on his test.

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"He said that he has no information on our test results and if we haven’t received them in 8 days they have been misplaced and we will have to re-test. We are frustratedand he was frustrated over the phone. He wasn’t really interested in my situation. His response didn’t sound customer focused, lack of empathy and it sounded provider focused. There was no mention of how he was going to correct it ... it was more of an “oh well”. The other issue for people who are trying to visit their loved ones in long term care is that they are “old” or “sick”. My mother is 100 years old, time is an issue," said Mcllwain.

We asked the Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit about the route travelled by a Covid-19 test swab from the Muskoka Assessment Centre to the online result.

The health unit said "the swabs are collected at the assessment centre by the community paramedics and sent to Toronto daily for testing.  The tests are distributed between the many approved labs to balance out the volume at each lab. Results are usually available between 3-7 days.  There have been some results that take longer and we aren’t always able to determine why. The results should be available on the COVID portal linked from our COVID main page as soon as they are available.  There are a few labs that do not upload results to the portal.  Ontario Health is continuing to problem solve this. The results are sent to the individuals primary care provider if they have one in Muskoka when they are available as well.

If time is of the essence then it is recommended that the person go for another test while they wait for their current test result in case it has been misplaced somewhere in the process, which would be rare."

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