‘It’s all hands on deck’; COVID-19 testing ramps up in Williams Lake

Debbie Fadenrecht gives a ‘whoop, whoop’ and a thumb’s up to residents who are vaccinated, as they line up for COVID testing Friday, Sept. 24. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Debbie Fadenrecht gives a ‘whoop, whoop’ and a thumb’s up to residents who are vaccinated, as they line up for COVID testing Friday, Sept. 24. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Debbie Fadenrecht controls traffic during a COVID-19 testing drive-thru. Usually Fadenrecht works as a patient ambassador for nearby Deni House. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Debbie Fadenrecht controls traffic during a COVID-19 testing drive-thru. Usually Fadenrecht works as a patient ambassador for nearby Deni House. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Nurses Treena Brown and Annie Blois conduct COVID-19 tests outside Cariboo Memorial Hospital Friday, Sept. 24. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Nurses Treena Brown and Annie Blois conduct COVID-19 tests outside Cariboo Memorial Hospital Friday, Sept. 24. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Children and adults needing COVID-19 tests in Williams Lake were lined up in vehicles outside Cariboo Memorial Hospital Friday, Sept. 24 for drive-thru testing.

Staff onsite said drive-thru testing is about five times quicker than having staff bring those in need of testing inside the two testing trailers stationed outside the hospital. The move was necessary due to the increased volume of those seeking COVID-19 tests, with online appointments filling up as fast as they are made available.

In recent weeks, Williams Lake residents have driven to 100 Mile House to get COVID-19 tests quicker.

“It’s all hands on deck,” said one nurse, noting all staff are pitching where they can to help.

The fourth wave of COVID-19 has seen the highest number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at Cariboo Memorial Hospital since the start of the pandemic.

In the line up Friday, nurses tried to keep the mood light, giving every person waiting for testing a ‘whoop, whoop’ or bell ring when they learned they were already either partially or fully vaccinated.

“This is real, the hospital is full,” nurses told those arriving for testing.

In response to the ongoing demand for vaccines, limited appointment options in Williams Lake, and increasing COVID-19 cases in the Cariboo Chilcotin, young Williams Lake resident Massimo Calabrese has organized a partnership between Paradise Cinemas and Interior Health to offer drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics at the movie theatre.

The next clinic takes place Monday, Sept. 27 and every Thursday in October, all from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Read More: Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics back on at Williams Lake movie theatre

Deni House is currently closed to visitors due to a COVID-19 exposure at the care home.

Interior Health said Deni House staff are taking extra infection prevention and control precautions to reduce the risk for residents in the facility including enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, masking and the site is closed to social visits until Friday, Oct. 1.

Northern Health announced Sunday, Sept. 26 that NH Medical Health Officers have declared a COVID-19 outbreak on the Primary Care Medical Unit (PCMU) at the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC) in Prince George, following lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among patients and staff.

Nine patients and one staff member there have tested positive for COVID-19 in association with the outbreak, and monitoring and testing is underway to identify any additional cases, according to NH.

– With a file from Monica Lamb-Yorski/Williams Lake Tribune.


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