Rimbey woman struggling to get tested for COVID-19

Rimbey woman struggling to get tested for COVID-19

Alice Bateman, 64, first reached out to her doctor about her symptoms in early March

A Rimbey resident has been trying to be tested for COVID-19 since the beginning of March.

Alice Bateman, 64, says she is frustrated with the uncertainty of what is causing her symptoms and the lack of communication from Alberta Health Services, local doctors and hospital.

Her symptoms, which first began with a “crushing headache,” include a sore throat and a shortness of breath.

According to the Government of Alberta’s website, any person, with or without symptoms, are eligible to be tested for COVID-19. Those who are exhibiting any symptom of the virus, have been in close contact with a confirmed case, workers/residents of outbreak sites, workers/residents at long-term and level 4 supportive living facilities, and patients admitted to continuing care or transferred between continuing care and hospital settings will receive priority for testing.

During Bateman’s initial contact with her doctor in early March she outlined her symptoms and informed her doctor of a swelling near the base of her neck, which she was aware could be unrelated to the illness.

She was told the protocol was to stay at home until symptoms “suddenly worsen and then call 811 to arrange a hospital visit.

About two weeks ago, Bateman went for an in-person meeting at her doctor’s office but it was terminated after mention of COVID-19 symptoms.

Bateman was instructed to go to the central testing clinic, but without a car she didn’t want to endanger other by getting a ride to Red Deer.

It was arranged to have a test sent to outside her home in Rimbey and that someone would call to schedule the test, but it has been over a week with no contact.

“It’s terrible for me, I’m the kind of person who wants to and needs to help other people, even if it’s only to make someone smile,” said Bateman, who is a singer and songwriter, in an email.

“I also need to know if I have COVID because if I don’t then the medical people might like to address the swelling in my shoulders.”

As a mother and grandmother she is frustrated she hasn’t been able to see her family since before Christmas and as a musician she misses being able to host jam session in her home studio or play guitar out on the street on a nice day.

“I can’t hug anyone, that’s intensely hard on me,” Bateman said.

Coronavirus