Patients needing bloodwork at Dynacare labs say they’re facing longer waits in Winnipeg. Many have to line up outside on the sidewalk in order to physically distance, and some say it’s hard for seniors and people with mobility issues to stand – in some cases for two hours.
“When you have diabetes and you're fasting you really can’t wait two hours in the morning," said Candida Sousa-Lopes, whose parents recently waited two hours outside a Dynacare clinic in Transcona.
"There was a very long lineup of lots of seniors, lots of people with walkers, and dad has a spine condition where he can’t stand up for long periods of time.”
Dynacare told CTV News the added waits are due to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has brought through quite a number of challenges," said Dr. Jenisa Naidoo, the medical director of Dynacare.
Naidoo said the company was forced to temporarily close 14 clinics that didn’t meet the physical distancing requirements for patient and employee safety.
Another factor is the time it takes to do screening and enhanced cleaning.
“We’ve got to disinfect between each patient," said Naidoo. "It does take a little bit longer to take care of patients to make sure everybody is safe."
Dynacare said those not comfortable waiting outside can check-in online and wait in their car to be notified. But that might not suit everyone.
“To do interactive stuff book appointments and that sort of thing online, some of us are not quite that tech-savvy," said Julia Puranen, a patient at Dynacare.
To bring down wait times, both inside and out, Dynacare has added locations and it says more are on the way.
"In the Transcona area itself, in Regent Avenue, it seems to be busy there’s a super site that’s being built as we speak," Naidoo said, adding the site is expected to open in October.
Supersites already exist, replacing around 20 smaller Dynacare clinics which closed as of February.
Dynacare said the consolidation has nothing to do with the lineups, rather is all COVID-19-related.
Dynacare said most, if not all of the 20 clinics that closed permanently pre-pandemic likely would have had to close anyway because they would not have been able to accommodate physical distancing.
Dynacare said it hopes that adding clinics will help cut those lines down. On top of that, it said it is looking for a large building like a community centre to house people inside to wait with proper physical distancing.