Letter: An ordeal to get tested

An ordeal to get tested

Frankly, I'm not concerned over remaining anonymous. My name is Taylor Lindquist, and the Canadian healthcare system has failed me. It has not only failed me, however, it has failed an astronomical amount of people within my community. Call it a first world problem, but it's also detrimental to the people that I love, as well as my coworkers and the clients that I serve. 

Three weeks ago, I was left essentially stranded in the Vancouver International Airport for 18 hours after being there for a week for work. My mother called me a week after I had been there, in the newborn stages of the COVID-19 crisis with motherly concern, telling me not to hesitate to go see a doctor should I develop cold symptoms. I scoffed at this point, as naive as I am, not taking it seriously. 

The following Wednesday, I developed a cold. I went to a work meeting that evening with everyone from within my company from Vernon to Penticton. 

Just to reiterate, I work two jobs. Both of which I do intend to keep anonymous, but let's just say my day job is physically labouring, and I serve and bartend in the evenings at a local establishment here in Kelowna with a general clientele that averages on the age of 65+. 

Amid early warnings of the virus, I went and got tested at the West Kelowna Medical Association walk-in clinic, simply to put my mind at ease as well as both of my employers. They were not taking any more patients, but they ushered me into quarantine right away regardless, with a woman taking my temperature and reassuring me that "a lot of people came here for the test, but few actually got tested." And that I "should be fine"... 

I got tested. She asked as I was leaving if the doctor went through with the testing and I said yes.

I disclosed my walk in visit and testing with both of my employers, and they both chose to not have me work. Accordingly. Thank God. Both handled the situation with grace and urgency and I am so thankful for having such employers.

I was initially told I'd receive my results on the following Monday. I called, and was told to call back Wednesday. Wednesday turned into Friday, and after waiting a week anxiously, I called the clinic again. The voice on the other end of the phone sounded nervous, she told me that she didn't know where my results were. She would call me back once they tracked them down. The next thing I know, I'm getting a call regarding my results and the doctor would like to schedule a phone call appointment with me. After waiting nearly two hours past my appointment time, the doctor finally called me. 

My sample never even got tested. It was compromised, somehow, at some point. And I wasn't even aware of it until a week later.

I was then instructed to go to the Urgent Care Centre in Kelowna to be tested again. I did, immediately, and did not make it past the front doors. I explained the situation, and in short, ended up on the phone with their screener where I was blatantly told that they've "tightened their criteria" and essentially since I've lasted ten days without developing pneumonia, and I'm young with no underlying conditions, to continue to self isolate for another seven days and should my symptoms persist, then I should come back. 

Now, I am not by any means saying that tightening their criteria is a bad thing. Expend our resources where needed, and I, myself, am no doctor. 

But let's be real about this. I've been in contact with thousands of people since my return from Vancouver. I can honestly say that I've never experienced a cold or flu like this in my life. I did my due diligence by going to get tested to begin with and self isolating based on the doctor's decision to test me. 

This isn't about me though. I may have been very sick, I still am. But this is about the people around me. I currently have three people in my household who continue to work. They have to. How do you tell your employer that someone in your household has come back with "inconclusive" results and that you need to self isolate for fourteen days, while still maintaining a pay cheque?

The Employment Insurance servers are overwhelmed to the point where people can't apply unless they go directly to Service Canada. This simply begs the question now as to how quickly these applications are going to be dealt with.

Canada needs to shut down. Entirely. Even in my small circle, when you look at who I've been in contact with, retrospectively, it is far too large. This is only going to continue to spread on a larger scale should we not take drastic measures. 

And you think the E.I servers are overwhelmed? This is only the beginning. Wait two weeks from now when our hospitals are exhausting every resource to keep as many people alive as possible once the spread hits.

This is absolutely detrimental and we have not done enough. I was not instructed to self isolate, I did it on my own accord but many people don't necessarily have the same common sense.

We need to nip this immediately.

I'm scared for my household, I'm scared for my clients, my coworkers, and anyone who's said hi to me over the last three weeks. 

Give everyone two weeks to see who's sick and limit the spread. We all need to be home right now.

Taylor Lindquist

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