Interior health officials innovating to get coronavirus testing to rural areas

British Columbia’s provincial health officer said Monday that getting coronavirus testing to the province’s more rural areas is a challenge and that health officials are innovating to try and meet the need.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said in both the north and Interior of B.C., health officials have done things like getting a public health nurse to go to someone’s home for testing or having a patient do a “drive-by test” in the parking lot of a health-care facility.

“It is a challenge, as you know the rural areas are quite spread out and they don’t have as much risk but consequences if somebody is positive and transmitting in a rural area can be much greater,” said Henry.

“Those are things that we’ve been looking at both for the Interior and the north for how to ensure that access to testing is there when it’s needed. It is a challenge, how do we get the test out there?”

As of Monday morning, Henry said she was only aware of two cases in the Interior Health region.

However, she said, other people are being tested.

Henry also explained why the province isn’t releasing information about in which communities in the Interior those cases are located.

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