Taking the Covid test
Conducting widespread testing is essential to getting a handle on Covid-19 in the territory, and a Beaconite is extremely grateful for the health care workers and others who have collected hundreds of tests in the past weeks. However, after he heeded government’s urging that anyone who visited certain bars in recent weeks get tested, he was dismayed to arrive Monday morning at the Dr. Orlando Smith Hospital and find the whole ordeal to be extremely disorganised and inefficient. The confusion started as soon as the Beaconite parked on the third floor of the hospital by the emergency room, as per his instructions. The night before, a health official had told him to arrive at 11 a.m. and wait in his car until someone approached his vehicle and swabbed his nose. Instead, he was informed that he had to find another place to park, as the drive-through testing apparently had been scrapped, and people whose appointments were scheduled for 10 a.m. still needed to helped. After about 30 minutes of waiting on the sidelines, the Beaconite joined the crowd of people by the testing site who were waiting to be called in. Because it wasn’t clear whether the health professionals were still going through the list for 10:30 or 11 a.m. appointments, and because it was hard to hear whose name was being called, everyone was forced to crowd around the opening of the testing site to make sure they didn’t miss their turn, rendering social distancing practically impossible. At about noon, the crowd was informed that some of the scheduled tests simply hadn’t been prepared, and the remaining people from the 10:30 group were instructed to stay in place while their test kits were being assembled. Meanwhile, the people scheduled for 11 a.m. were told to clear the area to accommodate social distancing. However, people again bunched up as soon as more names started being called. As far as the Beaconite could tell, no indication was given for when the health workers started calling out names from the 11 a.m. list, and by the time he voiced his frustration to one of the nurses at about 12:45 p.m., he was told that his name had already been called. That was news to him, because he’d never heard it. Again, the Beaconite recognises the danger and stress of executing such a sweeping testing regime, and he appreciates all who have played a role in it and is thankful he could get tested at all (as he eventually did). But beyond wasting people’s time, the disorganisation he witnessed on Monday could easily help spread the virus, undermining the very purpose of testing in the first place. It would be in everyone’s interests that these kinks be worked out soon.
When a Beaconite went into the Immigration Department last month to request an extension of her time in the territory, she was told that the department couldn’t see her, and that people had been waiting since at least April on expired time. Many of them are waiting for their employers to obtain the necessary letters of good standing from the various agencies, part of the new documentation the Department of Labour and Workforce Development is requiring for work permit renewals. Originally, they had until Monday. However, the public service has been closed since last week, leaving all of these people still waiting to turn in their paperwork and to get a stamp to make them legal in the territory. The Beaconite can’t imagine the backlog when the departments open back up. She isn’t sure how officials intend to deal with this situation, but she hopes that while the offices are closed, those in charge start formulating a plan.