Manitobans without access to vehicles of their own face more challenges to getting tested for COVID-19 than others.

In Manitoba, there are currently 19 dedicated COVID-19 testing facilities. Of the 19 facilities, eight of those are drive-thru only with many locations outside of urban areas being drive-thru only.

In Winnipeg, there are four testing locations and only one is a drive-thru. Concordia Hospital Urgent Care, Seven Oaks General Hospital Urgent Care, and Victoria General Hospital Urgent Care are additionally equipped to provide testing inside the facility.

"I think that there has been a number of interventions, especially in places where there is higher risk, say at the shelters, we have outreach testing in those areas," Dr. Brent Roussin says. "We are trying to continually increase the access to testing."

For many other areas of Manitoba, there are limited testing options. 

When reaching out to the Province of Manitoba's Communications department for Health, Seniors, and Active Living CHVN was directed to a Restoring Safe Services plan regarding transportation advice. The plan says to not take public transportation, carpool, or ride in a vehicle for hire if sick.

However, one person, who CHVN is not identifying because of privacy concerns, says they were left with no other option than to hire a taxi to get tested in Brandon, Man. The individual had been sick and their employer required a doctor's note. But their doctor's office would not allow them to come in until they produced a negative COVID test.

The patient was confident they did not have COVID-19 because their symptoms were mostly different. Without their own transportation, they say they were left to hire a taxi and waited in line at Brandon's drive-thru, which was the only testing facility at the time, for nearly two hours, which cost them around $80.

The province says that if someone is bedbound or homebound, or if a patient has a compromised immune system, mobile testing with the COVID Response Unit can be arranged, but only through a referral by their Primary Care Provider, Health Links-Info Santé, Occupational Health or Designate, or Public Health.

If living in the Southern Health-Santé Sud region, which according to Southern Health covers over 27,025 square kilometres and approximately 204,274 residents, has two drive-thru testing facilities. The drive-thrus are in Steinbach and Portage la Prairie. The only location in Southern Health to test that is not a Drive-Thru is in Winkler.

The Prairie Mountain Health region, which serves approximately 170,899 people, has six facilities, with three of those are drive-thru only. Swan River and Dauphin only have drive-thrus for their official testing facilities. Brandon now has both a regular testing facility and a drive-thru, after having only a drive-thru option for some time.

There are three testing facilities serving the Interlake-Eastern region, with two of those, Eriksdale and Selkirk, accessible as drive-thrus for the 17 towns in the area.

Northern Regional covers 396,000 square km and around 74,175 people. They have three facilities, and none of them are drive-thrus.

Churchhill is part of the Winnipeg Health region and has no testing facilities in the tourist destination. 

Currently, mobile testing is being sent to communal living clusters as part of a provincial initiative.

"The outreach is certainly more feasible when we can go into a tight geographic area and test a number of people there," Roussin says. "It is a real different aspect then sending somebody out to go test a single person but we are continually looking at that."

Roussin says that the province is trying to find ways to improve COVID-19 testing.

"We look at ways to make it in a more accessible for everyone."