My Misadventure Experience with Post Airline Travel Canadian Covid Testing

My Misadventure Experience with Post Airline Travel Canadian Covid Testing

After arriving home in Ontario last Friday (June 3rd) I received an email from the federal government Monday morning saying that I’d been randomly selected for Covid testing post-travel (news to me!) and that if they didn’t have my results within the next twenty-four hours they might contact me by phone. I promptly called the government public health number listed in the email. The first thing they asked me was how I’d gotten their number (Huh? You emailed me). After asking where I was calling from they instructed me to contact SwitchHealth to arrange testing. From the email I could see SwitchHealth was the wrong lab but when I read the email message back citing LifeLabs as responsible for Ontario testing the person on the phone insisted SwitchHealth was in charge of Ontario testing.

Let me tell you, SwitchHealth is not currently in charge of Ontario airport testing and only handle testing for Alberta and Atlantic Canada. Apparently, SwitchHealth were previously involved with Ontario testing but that changed at the beginning of June. After contacting LifeLabs (who perform the Ontario testing) LifeLabs informed me it would take 3 or 4 days for the test to arrive via FedEx and that I’d get robo calls from the government in the meantime.

The next day the harassing robo calls threatening $5k fines for non-compliance started with no opportunity to speak to a live person to explain what had happened. Day 6 my test kit arrived via FedEx mid-afternoon. The next available online test was for the following day. I finally had the virtual appointment yesterday (day 7) and the epic ridiculousness didn’t end there. The person who observed my online test instructed me to store it in a cold dark place away from sunlit, preferably a fridge, until FedEx could come pick it up. Supposedly they have to pick the sample up the same day or it’s no longer viable.

 

I called FedEx directly after my appointment, and they told me (knowing what it was) to leave the package outside my apartment building with a note attached explaining that it was a covid test so no one would steal it and said they’d pick it up anytime before 5. This was at ten AM. I repeated what I’d been told about keeping the package in the fridge and away from sunlight until they arrive and the FedEx employee somewhat wryly said they don’t have any fridges. Not wanting to give them an excuse not to pick the kit up, I did as close to asked as I was comfortable with, leaving the package between the inner and outer doors of my building where a FedEx driver wouldn’t have to endure contact with me to retrieve it. I checked on the package several times and it was still there at 3.30 but gone by 4.35, meaning my sample sat outside the security doors of my building for at least 5.5 hours!

I don’t disagree with Covid-19 testing. In fact, I took two rapid antigen tests (on day 4 and 5) after my dodgy return WestJet flight as there were many unmasked and sniffling people sitting near me on the plane and flight attendants weren’t enforcing federal masking rules. But when the random airport PRC testing that’s supposed to happen on day 1 doesn’t occur until day 7 I fail to see how it’s useful in any way. This entire experience was nothing but aggravation and ineptitude.


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