Surrey resident Tina Murphy has more than a little experience battling viral outbreaks.
Murphy, who manages the Langley City COVID-19 collection centre, was part of the successful BC campaign to contain the SARS virus in 2003, when a quick, coordinated response limited the spread to a handful of cases.
She has also worked on campaigns against MERS and Ebola.
Now, Murphy, and a small group of medical professionals and support staff at the Langley City centre operated by the Fraser Health Authority, are fighting to limit spread of the novel coronavirus through testing.
Murphy and four other medical health care professionals, along with a security guard, work out of ground-level offices at the rear of 20651 Logan Ave.
Open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. since March, the centre sees as many 80 people on its busiest days.
“One of the most important things that people in Langley should know is that we have a testing and assessment centre, and they can come for an assessment,” Murphy told the Langley Advance Times.
However, while people will be seen, they may not get tested, Murphy added.
“It doesn’t mean that they will necessary be swabbed. That decision will be made by the team on site.”
Their focus at this time, Murphy explained, is on those “who are a part of a cluster – an outbreak – for those who are severely ill in a hospital, as well for those who are in long-term care [facilities] and health care professionals.”
Since March 16, 2020, the Langley assessment site had processed 1,032 swab tests as of June 15, 2020, the Fraser Health authority reported. It was unable to provide the number of positive COVID-19 tests.
One of more than 80 collection centres operating in B.C., the Langley facility operates as a drive-in facility, with most people remaining in their vehicles during a visit.
In cases where a closer look is required, there is an examination room indoors.
People can be referred by their doctors or make their own appointments by calling 604-539-4392 or just drop by.
“Anyone who has a respiratory issue can come for assessment,” Murphy said.
Usually, the whole process takes no more than 10 minutes from when a health care worker interviews a visitor to when a test, if one is needed, gets carried out.
Results can take as little as a day, and are communicated to the visitor’s doctor.
Walk-ins without an appointment do run the risk of longer waits, especially on busy days, Murphy cautioned.
To get assessed, a visitor is required to have their BC health insurance number and a drivers licence for ID.
Access is easiest by driving west toward downtown Langley City along 56 Avenue, then, in the 20600 block, turning right into the rear parking at the blue and yellow sidewalk sign that says “community assessment and testing centre,” just before Logan.
There are more signs directing cars to parking spots with a phone number they can call to alert staff they have arrived.
Murphy advises visitors to come to the rear and phone, rather than tap on the door to the Fraser Health Authority home support services office in the front of the building, which is not connected to the collection centre.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and shortness of breath, ranging from mild symptoms to life-threatening pneumonia-like conditions.
More information is available online at the BC Centre for Disease Control website under “COVID-19.”