One of the labs that conduct COVID-19 PCR or antigen tests needed for out-of-country travel is no longer operational in Kelowna.
June MacGregor tried to go to Shoppers Drug Mart on Kane Road last week for a COVID-19 test needed for travel. She had prepaid for the test, however, when she arrived at the pharmacy she was told Life Labs was no longer conducting testing.
“I did not receive notification and was on hold with Life Labs for an hour to ask for my refund,” she said.
Life Labs responded to Kelowna Capital News by saying they had paused COVID-19 travel testing in Kelowna due to difficulty establishing a reliable route to transport specimens to the Lower Mainland for testing following the recent flooding, mudslides, and highways closures in Southern B.C.
The lab hopes to resume testing soon, but for now, all tests prepaid or otherwise have been cancelled in Kelowna as well as Kamloops.
There are other labs available within the city for a COVID-19 travel test, including at Kelowna International Airport.
With the detection of the new variant Omicron, new travel restrictions are also in place for Canada.
The federal government announced on Nov. 30, that all air travellers entering Canada, except for those coming from the United States, will need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and isolate until they get their results, even if fully vaccinated. While on Dec. 2, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a requirement for all air travellers entering the U.S., including from Canada, to be tested for COVID-19, 24 hours before boarding their flight, regardless of their vaccination status.
Previously, people who were fully vaccinated would have been able to present a negative test taken within 72 hours of flying to the U.S.