(File Photo)

(File Photo)

Elk Valley residents can now book COVID-19 testing online

Tests may now be booked on Interior Health’s website or by calling 1-877-740-7747

With provincial Covid-19 cases on the rise, Elk Valley residents are now able to book their Covid-tests online via Interior Health’s website, or by calling the new Covid-specific call centre.

According to Dr. Tara Chalmers-Nixon, chair of the Elk Valley Hospital’s Medical Staff Association, Covid testing for the Elk Valley is currently carried out at the Sparwood Health Centre, however only residents presenting one or more Covid symptoms or who have been directed by a physician to get tested are able to book a test.

Residents, especially families with young children, are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the testing process prior to arrival. Currently, school-aged children are able to complete a swish-gargle-spit test, with the rest of the the population mandated to undertake the swab test.

Chalmers-Nixon added that currently the biggest concern is flattening the curve to prevent waves of infection where many people get sick at the same time.

“Just because Covid cases are on the rise and hospitalizations are going up, especially in these larger centres, doesn’t mean that other diseases go away,” said Chalmers-Nixon.

“There’s still cancer, there’s still heart attacks, stroke, and trauma – so we’re trying to maintain capacity in our health care system to be able to look after whatever it is that people present emergency rooms with.”

While physician clinics within the Elk Valley continue to operate via virtual visits and limited in-person visits, Dr. Chalmers-Nixon urges anyone who is sick and needs medical attention to visit the hospital.

“If you need emergency care, go to emergency – what we really don’t want is people not seeking medical care because they are afraid of going to the hospital,” said Chalmers-Nixon.

Interior Health further encourages anyone developing symptoms including cough, sore throat, runny nose, or shortness of breath to seek medical attention, get tested, and self isolate.

To speak to a healthcare provider, Interior Health’s 8-1-1 line is still in operation, as is the 7-1-1- line for the deaf and hard of hearing.

For more information on Covid-19, testing options, or to book online, visit Interior Health’s website at Interiorhealth.ca and select the Sparwood option followed by a preferred time slot.

The Covid-specific call centre is also open for bookings seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. via 1-877-740-7747.

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reporter@thefreepress.ca

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