A larger COVID-19 testing and collection centre opens Wednesday (Sept. 30) in Abbotsford.
Located at 33844 King Rd., the new service is situated in parking lot #10 at the University of the Fraser Valley.
The centre will operate using a drive-thru and walk-in model, and will conduct as many as 500 COVID-19 tests daily. The centre will be open seven days a week from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.
This is one of 11 test centres across the region.
The centre came about due to a partnership with the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice, the City of Abbotsford, and UFV.
This increases the previous testing and collection centre in Abbotsford by five times. This expanded test collection centre will aim to provide timely access to COVID-19 testing for those who are experiencing symptoms.
For more information, visit fraserhealth.ca/covid19.
The centre arrives at a good time locally, as Fraser Health reported seeing a surge in demand for testing services last week.
On Sept. 21, the wait time for a COVID-19 test in Chilliwack was about three and a half hours, at times with more than 100 people lined up around the block. In Abbotsford and Mission, those wanting testing done were being booked for two days later.
Fraser Health (FHA) says they are continually looking at ways to meet the needs of the communities in their region, and that increased services could happen soon.
“We apologize for any delays people may be experiencing at our COVID-19 test collection centres due to the significant demand we have been seeing throughout our region,” FHA stated via an email in response to a Black Press story about the long waits.
Many Fraser Health COVID-19 test collection centres have seen a surge in demand in recent weeks. We are working very hard to make COVID-19 assessment and testing available to every person who needs it, and we are monitoring the daily volumes at each assessment and testing centre to ensure we can continue to do so.”
The services were previously expanded, and FHA confirmed they are “planning further enhancements over the coming days and weeks to help ensure people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can quickly receive a COVID-19 test and an assessment if they need one.”
That will include increasing staffing at some locations, as well as extending operating hours.
Fraser Health’s 10 COVID-19 assessment and testing centres are mostly in partnership with local Divisions of Family Practice. They suggest using the online booking system that allows people to book at their Surrey, Langley, and Burnaby test collection centres. Other communities will be added to the system soon, they added.
Fraser Health has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Chilliwack’s numbers have been low. Just four cases were confirmed in the city throughout August, while that number was 100 in Abbotsford.
With files from – Jessica Peters, Chilliwack Progress