Online booking system for drive-thru COVID-19 test stalling for some

Noble Horvath

© Francis Ferland/CBC A sign at Ottawa’s drive-thru COVID-19 test site at RCGT Park on Coventry Road on Sept. 4, 2020. The Ottawa Hospital is working to fix an apparent glitch that’s preventing some people from booking a COVID-19 test at the city’s newest drive-thru site on Coventry Road. Anyone […]



a sign on a pole: A sign at Ottawa's drive-thru COVID-19 test site at RCGT Park on Coventry Road on Sept. 4, 2020.


© Francis Ferland/CBC
A sign at Ottawa’s drive-thru COVID-19 test site at RCGT Park on Coventry Road on Sept. 4, 2020.

The Ottawa Hospital is working to fix an apparent glitch that’s preventing some people from booking a COVID-19 test at the city’s newest drive-thru site on Coventry Road.

Anyone wanting a test at the drive-thru site must go online to book an appointment ahead of time, but it seems it hasn’t been that easy for everyone.

Orléans resident Stan Blythe estimates he’s tried between 50 and 60 times since Saturday morning to book an appointment.

“It’s kind of infuriating,” Blythe said. “You fill in all your personal information … and then say, ‘OK book it,’ and every time you do say ‘book it,’ it just recycles back to ask you for information again.”

Hospital apologizes for inconvenience

Both the testing site and the online booking platform are managed by The Ottawa Hospital along with its partners.

In a statement to CBC, the hospital said it’s “aware of some technical issues with the booking website” and is working to resolve them.

“As the website was launched last week, staff anticipated that there would be a period of adjustment to volumes of residents booking appointments, and available bookings are gradually increasing as staff optimize processes at the centre,” the statement said.

“We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank everyone for their patience while we address this.”

Isolating at home

Blythe said he’s been feeling unwell and doesn’t feel strong enough to stand in long lines outside COVID-19 assessment centres elsewhere in the city.

Until he can get an appointment for a drive-thru test, Blythe plans to remain in isolation at home.

“I have to, just because I don’t really want to take a chance [of] making somebody else sick,” he said. 

Blythe said he’s been hoping to get tested so he can see his young granddaughter before she heads back to school next week.

“If I can get tested and find out I don’t actually have COVID, then that’s great, and I can see my granddaughter this weekend. But if I can’t, I’ve just got to isolate, and that’s kind of a burden,” he said.

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