COVID testing for travel purposes backlogged until mid-June

Long line at a COVID-19 testing site. (PNC file photo)

COVID-19 testing for travel is backlogged at the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

Public Health spokesperson Janela Carrera told Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo that travel testing at the department is booked until mid-June.

DPHSS encourages people who need travel testing to schedule in advance.

They discourage walk-ins because services at their facilities prioritize people who are symptomatic.

Carrera said travel-testing isn’t available at Public Health’s drive-thru testing events because those events mostly use Binax tests rather than PCR tests, which are required for most travel destinations.

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Drive-thru events do have some PCR tests but those are reserved for people displaying COVID symptoms.

Carrera said that people who need to get tested sooner do have the option of getting tested at a private clinic although there will be a charge.

She said that the backlog at Public Health is the result of limitations on resources.

“At this time, we’re short on how many physicians we have available to be able to treat patients. We’re really grappling with resources, manpower. Because as you see, and if you look at our JIC reports, we have a lot of events, a lot of outreach, almost every day. So our nurses are pretty stretched thin. We have events occurring almost every day of the week. So our nurses are pretty much everywhere,” Carrera said.

She added that there has been talk at Public Health of possibly doing an outreach for travel testing, but nothing has been confirmed at this time.