Alberta Health Services sees surge in coronavirus testing demand, long wait times

More people want coronavirus tests in the province, which has increased wait times for appointments and results, according to Alberta Health Services (AHS).

“We are experiencing some challenges with meeting the surge in demand for testing appointments, which in turn is impacting how many tests are completed on a daily basis,” AHS said in a statement to Global News on Wednesday.

Read more: Alberta records 133 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 2 additional deaths

Demand by zone

The Calgary zone is seeing the highest demand, AHS said.

“Over the past week in the Calgary zone, we received on average of more than 4,000 online referrals for testing each day with an unprecedented single day of more 7,597 requests on Monday,” AHS said.

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The Edmonton zone had a spike in demand, too, but the area is meeting targets and there are “ample appointments available online,” AHS said.

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Edmonton had 4,044 requests for appointments on Monday.

Read more: Demand for COVID-19 testing remains consistently high in Alberta’s big cities

There are no issues in other zones, AHS said. On Monday, the requests reached 962 in the central zone, 723 in the north zone and 594 in the south zone.

Provincial numbers

Across the province Monday, AHS said it had 13,922 requests for appointments — the highest day yet.

“We are currently completing between 7,000 and 8,000 COVID-19 tests every day, provincially,” AHS said. “Our labs currently have the capacity labs to complete about 10,000 tests a day.”

Alberta Health Services says ‘pandemic fatigue’ could be factor in COVID-19 case increase

Alberta Health Services says ‘pandemic fatigue’ could be factor in COVID-19 case increase

What AHS says it’s doing

The health authority said assessment centre hours were extended and more staff members were deployed to help with appointments, testing and callbacks.

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“We are confident these steps will help to alleviate delays in getting appointments, allow us to meet demand and increase our testing numbers and daily capacity,” AHS said, noting the online tool is the most convenient option for booking.

Read more: Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing and what you should know

Results usually take two to four days, but they might take longer “due to the current unprecedented demand for testing,” AHS said.

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