The lineup for Surrey’s only daily testing and vaccination centre, located at 14577 66 Avenue, was stretched for blocks Tuesday. (Lauren Collins photo)

The lineup for Surrey’s only daily testing and vaccination centre, located at 14577 66 Avenue, was stretched for blocks Tuesday. (Lauren Collins photo)

As demand spikes, COVID-19 testing by appointment only in Surrey during holidays

At 66 Avenue site, immunizations will be paused Dec. 25, 26 and Jan. 1 to general public

** This story was updated at 12:15 p.m. Dec. 24

With the Omicron variant ripping through B.C.’s population and daily case counts hitting an all-time-high, Fraser Health has seen an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing services in the City of Surrey.

On Tuesday, (Dec. 21), the province announced that 1,308 people had tested positive in B.C. for COVID-19 since Monday – the highest daily number of positive cases B.C. has recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in spring 2020.

“We continue to see an increasing number of appointments being booked at all (of) our COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centres,” communications officer Dixon Tam told Peace Arch News this week. “This uptick in traffic, for those with and without appointments, has unfortunately resulted in lineups at some of our busier locations for a period of time.”

The lineup for Surrey’s only daily testing and vaccination centre, located at 14577 66 Ave., stretched for blocks Tuesday.

The immunization centre will be closed on Dec. 25, 26 and Jan. 1. “It will be open during the holidays for COVID-19 testing for those with appointments,” Tam clarified Friday (Dec. 24). “Also, while we are not doing immunization appointments for the public during the listed holiday period, we will be focused on providing immunizations during that time for healthcare workers.”

The drive-thru clinic is available, Fraser Health’s website notes.

“No one who has a confirmed appointment time is being turned away,” Tam said in an email. “Those who need a COVID-19 test but don’t want to wait have the option of taking a saline gargle test home with them and then dropping it off at the site later.”

During the height of the province’s vaccination and testing effort last year, Fraser Health built a temporary test/vaccination site at TransLink’s South Surrey Park and Ride. The site, opened in December, collected 9,621 tests from Dec. 8, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021.

Fraser Health dismantled the collection centre Aug. 15.

SEE ALSO: B.C. sees record-breaking 1,308 new COVID cases ahead of new restrictions

Asked if Fraser Health intends to bring back the South Surrey Park and Ride centre, Tam said: “We are working hard to add more capacity and extra resources to some of our peak times and busier clinic locations to accommodate as many people as possible. Our priority is ensuring everyone gets tested or vaccinated and has the best experience possible.”

Tam stressed that it’s “critically important” for people living in Fraser Health to get tested as soon as they have COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones.

To learn about test collection centres and book appointments, visit fraserhealth.ca

For information on how to book an immunization apportionment, click here.

British ColumbiaCOVID-19Surrey