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Coronavirus: Test turnaround times at Interior Health slightly above provincial average

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Interior Health says turnaround times for coronavirus testing in the region will vary, but that they are generally close to the provincial average.

Data from the BC Centre of Disease Control shows that the provincial average for test turnaround times is 32.67 hours, compared to the Interior Health average time of 36.73 hours.

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“On one day, it was 90 hours on average for test turnaround times in Interior Health, but on other recent days it was 10, 42, and 49,” the health authority said.

“The variations demonstrate the multiple factors that contribute to test turnaround data. Generally, results are back between 24 to 48 hours once the samples arrive at the laboratory where they will be analyzed, which usually occurs on the same day that the patient has provided the sample.”

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Test turnaround times, according to BC Centre of Disease Control statistics:

Average turnaround time hours:

  • B.C: 32.67 hours
  • Vancouver Island: 24.97 hours
  • Vancouver Coastal: 27.71 hours
  • Fraser Health: 33.85 hours
  • Interior Health: 36.73 hours
  • Northern Health: 42.39 hours

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Average turnaround time hours for June:

  • B.C.: 24.82 hours
  • Vancouver Island: 18.85 hours
  • Vancouver: 22.56 hours
  • Fraser Health: 22.30 hours
  • Interior Health: 37.65 hours
  • Northern Health: 29.73 hours
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One Kelowna resident contacted by Global News said her turnaround time was just over 24 hours, while another said it almost took a week.

The region’s size also plays a role in transporting swabs to Kelowna for analysis.

“Our goal is to have that as short as possible, it has been between 24 and 48 hours on average,” said Norma Janssen, vice president and chief information officer at Interior Health.

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“However, we have good courier transport throughout the region and have also added additional runs to support timely results.”

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Longer turnaround times more recently were caused by an equipment malfunction in Kelowna, which meant samples are being redirected to the BC Centre of Disease Control, officials said.

Testing can also be done in Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook and Trail, and urgent tests for emergency departments, health-care workers and hospital patients demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms remains available.

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