Test results are slow to be delivered to the Quebec City region

“This is a joke! After ten days of waiting, Karine Boissonneault and her son finally received the result of their COVID-19 test. Her son is positive. Not her. “My son received his diagnosis and, the same day, the letter for the end of his confinement! she says. It makes no sense. “

Karine Boissonneault and her family live in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures in the Quebec region. She fears that she is unwittingly contributing to the spread of COVID-19. “As soon as we were diagnosed my partner and my other boy went into lockdown,” she says. They had worked the previous ten days, however, since they had not been in close contact with a positive case, unlike them.

“Could they have been asymptomatic? asks Karine Boissonneault. We will hope they will be negative. They took their drug test on Friday.

“A historic level”

In the Capitale-Nationale, the second wave is gaining momentum. Quebec recorded 265 new cases on Monday, the largest increase since the start of the pandemic. At the CHU-de-Québec – Université Laval, the laboratory is running at full speed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “We do an average of 3000 analyzes per day,” says its spokesperson, Geneviève Dupuis. This is a historic level. “

To meet demand, the CHU-de-Québec – Université Laval has entered into an agreement with private laboratories. One of them had problems, and some 2,000 tests were delayed, says Geneviève Dupuis. “We received the latest sample results from September 20 to 24 on the evening of October 2,” she explains. Those of Karine Boissonneault and her son could well be part of this lot.

According to the Alliance of Professional and Technical Personnel in Health and Social Services (APTS), the CHU-de-Québec is currently sending 700 tests per day to two private laboratories. “One of them ran out of reagents,” explains Steve St-Onge, APTS national representative for the Capitale-Nationale. Until recently, the CIUSSS du Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean also lent a hand to the CHU laboratory. “We sent between 300 and 400 tests per day there,” he says.

When the results arrive five days later, the damage is done. It is [une enquête de cas] much less useful than if it had been done 24 hours after the test.

Still waiting

The CHU-de-Québec estimates that 94% of analyzes are carried out within 48 hours and almost all of them in less than 72 hours. The fact remains that citizens are still waiting for an appeal from the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale to know their results. This is the case of Isabel Dugas-Iregui, who works in the restaurant industry in Quebec. She was tested on September 25. “I called the phone line three times and wrote to the email address once,” she says.

Geneviève Dupuis emphasizes that the CHU-de-Québec is working with the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale to find a way to more effectively transmit the results of the analyzes. Various systems, such as the fax machine, are used to route the results.

“In the next few weeks, we should receive a new device [d’analyse], adds Geneviève Dupuis. But it will have to be installed, validated the tests and calibrated. If all goes well, the machine could be ready on November 9 or 15. But it depends on the reagents. “Because these chemicals, necessary to perform the analyzes, remain an issue, according to the CHU-de-Québec and the APTS.

No stock shortage has occurred since the start of the pandemic, “only sometimes reduced deliveries compared to the order,” wrote the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS), in an email. Quebec explains that suppliers send reagents to laboratories, depending on the production volume of each, according to the just-in-time formula (just in time, in English). “This operation aims to prevent laboratories from” storing “reagents, thus creating artificial shortages”, writes the MSSS.

It’s not just the laboratories that are overwhelmed in the Quebec City region. The Regional Directorate of Public Health too.

Marie-France Thibault says she received a first call from Public Health, to inform her of the containment measures, eight days after the positive result of her son. The latter attends the École des Pionniers, a secondary school in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, where cases of COVID-19 have occurred. His class has been placed in isolation.

The rest of the family confined themselves as soon as the disease was diagnosed. “When Public Health called us today [lundi], she told us that since our son did not wear a mask during isolation at home, we will have to remain confined until October 14, “said Marie-France Thibault.

The mother of two would have liked to have been informed of the measures earlier. His son would have implemented them. In the end, she will miss nearly three weeks of work. “My job doesn’t allow me to work from home,” she says.

The Dre Marie-France Raynault believes that delays in the transmission of results are a “problem for siblings”, but also for people awaiting results. “When the results arrive five days later, the damage is done,” says the professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Montreal. It is [une enquête de cas] much less useful than if it had been done 24 hours after the test. “

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