Frustrations are growing among some New Brunswickers who are off work or out of school waiting for a COVID-19 test and some are questioning why the province is not making rapid testing available to the general public, as is being done in Nova Scotia.
“If they made rapid testing available, people could go back to work,” said Karen Savoie of Hampton, N.B.
After more than a week of being off work with no pay in self-isolation waiting for a COVID-19 test, Savoie said she was finally able to go back to work on Friday.
“I am able to go to work today because I was lucky enough to get rapid tested”, but she said that it was no thanks to the province.
Savoie, who is a private personal care worker, said when she called to book a COVID-19 test and was told that it would take almost two weeks just to get an appointment, desperate with no money coming in, she says she was forced to use a rapid test from a family member because the province would not provide one.
“My aunt runs restaurants so they rapid test their staff and she told me to come in and get one done, and that is how I was able to go back to work. if I had not gotten that rapid test done I would still be waiting to go back to work”, said Savoie.
Her test turned out to be negative and she says the province should be making rapid testing available to the general public, especially given the long wait times for PCR testing.
“How can somebody afford to stay out of work that long?” said Savoie.
Jennifer Canning of Notre-Dame, N.B., said that her son missed more than a week of school waiting for a COVID-19 test, which turned out to be negative. She, too, wonders why New Brunswick’s stockpile of rapid tests are not being used in every school in the province
“There is no good reason to me that if we have this technology available that we shouldn’t be utilizing it at least to have our kids get a proper education,” said Canning.
Earlier this week, Nova Scotia announced it was making rapid testing available to pre-primary to Grade 6 students, and the general public has had access to rapid testing since last year.
On Friday, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, said that 560,000 rapid test kits have been distributed to businesses, but she would not say if the general public or schools will have access.
“Public Health is working with education and early childhood development to develop a more in-depth plan for schools,” said Russell.