Canaries’ requests to be tested for Covid-19 the forecasts of the Ministry of Health have exceeded. He regional government They have assigned a team of 30 people to attend to the requests, but the number of calls is so great that they cannot cope with the avalanche. Telephones collapsed and complaints from islanders in the Peninsula – forced to prove that they are not infected if they want to go home for Christmas without having to go through quarantine – piled up on social networks. There were those who chose to call their closest laboratory directly after consulting the list published by the regional government.
There they had to give him an appointment to do the test and then pass the bill to the Canary Islands Health Service (SCS), which will cover the cost of the tests to residents. This is what Tenerife Patricia Bencomo did, who studies in Huelva and therefore lives temporarily in Lepe. His surprise was that the laboratory in question – which is on the official list for the province of Huesca – not only did not want to know anything about the tests to the canaries, but they also dispatched it in bad manners. In fact, the Ministry of Health has taken note of the lack of knowledge in certain franchised laboratories and have already given the parent company, the signatory of the agreement, a slap on the wrist to adopt measures.
Throughout yesterday morning and even past noon – as far as this newspaper could check – someone picking up the phones that Health has made available was almost a chimera. At the contact number on the SCS website, 911 087 080, a recorded message gave basic information to the user, but the call was cut off immediately after being asked to stay on hold to speak to an “agent”. After noon, in the same number the user was indicated in which position in the queue his call was and the expected time until he answered it. When it was time to be treated, communication was cut off. In the morning, Health provided another telephone number, 699 228 953, “to further expedite the prior appointment process” in the cases of those who are going to come to the Canary Islands from Barcelona – it must be remembered that the order that imposes the Covid-19 is designed above all for residents who return for Christmas but it also forces anyone else who comes from the rest of the country. That second number also crashed in less than an hour and the only response was from the operator advising that the mailbox was full.
Complaints on social media multiplied even though the Ministry of Health had already asked for patience in the face of the barrage of calls since Tuesday. “They don’t respond, I don’t know what to do anymore …”. “It is not a question of patience. Once you make contact, you wait for an agent to be transferred to you, and when the time comes, they hang up ”. “A pity for the lack of foresight … Impossible for them to pick up the phone.” There are only three of the many messages on Twitter – you can read some more in the screenshots on this page – about the problems with the official contact numbers, but the worst thing, however, is that it wasn’t easy to make an appointment by calling the laboratories directly . Throughout the morning it was impossible for someone to pick up the phone in one of the two laboratories located in the cities of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. As it was impossible for many canaries residing in the Peninsula to answer them in their closest centers.
Furthermore, in not a few of these centers, of those who did pick up the phone, they had no idea of the agreement with the Government of the Canary Islands to give free tests to the islanders – an agreement that, by the way, includes a “special price” for non-residents. “When I got the call to be taken, a girl told me that she was very sorry but that her boss did not want to know anything about the Canarian residents”, explained Patricia Bencomo, who will finally have the test tomorrow in another laboratory in Huelva to return to the Islands on Monday, so it will be very fair not to exceed the 72 hour period. For her part, Raquel Pérez, a resident of Tenerife, specifically in Santa Cruz, who is in Barcelona for work, pointed out that she managed to take the test yesterday after insisting on calling the laboratory, where they recognized that the demand from the islanders has almost overwhelmed them .
From Health they have already contacted the companies to notify all their laboratories franchisees of the agreement signed for the tests to Canarian residents. The Blas Trujillo counseling has already answered more than 100,000 calls and managed more than 20,000 appointments. Actually those were the numbers as of early yesterday, which gives an idea of the extent to which there has been a barrage of requests.