Interior Health ramps up testing for COVID-19 in Penticton, B.C.

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B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry breaks down when it's urgent to get tested for COVID-19 and when it's appropriate to wait – Dec 17, 2020

Interior Health is ramping up testing for COVID-19 in Penticton, B.C., as case counts climb in the South Okanagan during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The health authority said as of Monday, COVID-19 test collection services will move from Penticton Regional Hospital to a dedicated centre, located at 140-3547 Skaha Lake Rd.

Read more: COVID-19 gargle test, now available for adults, arrives in the Okanagan

The testing centre is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week and more parking spaces are available, officials said.

“The dedicated COVID-19 collection centre will allow Interior Health to increase the daily number of tests being performed for Penticton residents,” IH said in a public service announcement, although it’s unclear how many more tests will be able to be conducted.

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Swabs and gargles will take place at the new location, which can accommodate up to six collection staff, IH said.

The location at the hospital only allowed for four staff.

New cases of COVID-19 recorded from Dec. 6-Dec.12 in communities across B.C. BC Centre for Disease Control

Thirty-four new cases of COVID-19 surfaced in Penticton from Dec. 6 to Dec. 12, the most recent reporting period available. That was down from 50 new cases of the disease the week prior.

Read more: Big White community cluster in quarantine, regional district says

The Oliver and Osoyoos area, however, recorded a surge of 54 new cases in early December, largely driven by the deadly outbreak at the McKinney long-term care home.

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Coronavirus: Oliver community shows support for long term care home workers – Dec 19, 2020

The Okanagan’s hotspot remains the Kelowna area, where 349 cases were recorded during the same time period.

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Testing is still reserved for those experiencing symptoms, such as a fever, cough, loss of taste or smell, and shortness of breath, or those who may have been exposed to the virus.

People can book a test online or by phone at 1-877-740-7747.

More information about testing can be found here.

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