Though there are no solid commitments for on-island COVID-19 testing, a recent provincial allowance for community paramedics to administer tests could prove fruitful, BIM emergency program coordinator Jennifer McGowan relayed at the Dec. 14 regular council meeting.
Bowen Islanders currently are served by two North Vancouver testing sites.
For the past month, McGowan has been working with local and regional physicians, health authorities and organizations to find a solution for Bowen’s lack of testing.
“Health professionals qualified to perform this screening are limited, changing regularly, and vary depending on the level of direct supervision being provided on-site,” McGowan said in her report to council. “Specimens are considered dangerous goods and must be transported in accordance with Transport Canada requirements by a registered carrier.”
While local physicians don’t have the capacity to perform testing (as they did earlier in the pandemic), community paramedics may now perform nasopharyngeal swabs after training and competency assessments. These assessments could take place as early as this month said McGowan.
“It is not yet clear what support might be required from the municipality to facilitate this screening, if any,” she said.
On this note, BIM announced a couple of weeks ago that those going for COVID-19 tests in North Vancouver are eligible for the Travel Assistance Program (TAP) to cover their return ferry cost.