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Slow test results leave family of health care employees self-isolating
LONDON, ONT. -- She may be an essential worker right now, critical to helping save patients from contracting COVID-19, but long-term care nurse Judy Kelly-Wuytenberg and her family are stuck at home.
“Potentially, if you remain positive and you return back to work, you’re talking about infecting a whole population who are very high-risk,” she says.
Kelly-Wuytenberg, along with her husband and daughter, all work at the same facility in Middlesex County.
After returning from a Las Vegas vacation earlier this month, Kelly-Wuytenberg developed cold symptoms. She was tested for COVID-19, and then the family went into self-isolation, awaiting test results.
That was a week ago as of Wednesday. They’re still waiting.
"You’re talking about losing health-care workers in an environment where critically they really do need to be there. Those are your front-line workers that need to be there and that puts added stress on our health care system.”
Kelly-Wuytenberg’s daughter works in the diet and nutrition at the long-term care home, while her husband Rob Wuytenberg works in housekeeping.
He tells CTV News the facility is already short on staff, and he feels bad he can’t be there to pitch in.
“I am a part-time worker and I could fill into a shift, but since she had to get a swab, and she never got results back, those shifts I couldn’t work either.”
According to the Middlesex London Health Unit, health care workers are considered priority for COVID-19 testing, but Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Alex Summers said the system is backlogged.
"The lab tests are being prioritized for those that need it the most and so those tests can have a turnaround time of anywhere between 24 to 48 hours. Some of the other tests may take a little longer to come back but as we see the lab capacity increase across the province we’ll see that time to getting results increase and improve as well.”
In the meantime, Kelly-Wuytenberg says she’s been symptom free for more than a day. However, even if she’s fit as a fiddle no one in the family goes back to work until the test comes back with a negative result.
“Now we’re becoming financially strained where you have three adults in the home who cannot work because of this one test result, and we’ve all had to now apply for [employment insurance]. You know so if I was negative all along that would be something that I would like to know so that I could return to work.”