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Sault mom mad as hell over COVID testing policies for infants

One-year-old child subjected to four-hour wait in hospital emergency department to get tested
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File photo of Sault Area Hospital. Darren Taylor/SooToday

A Sault Ste. Marie woman is absolutely "pissed" after her one-year-old child was subjected to an extended visit to the emergency department at Sault Area Hospital while waiting to get tested for COVID-19. 

The mother, who has asked to remain anonymous due to the nature of her job, says her son was recently sent home from daycare after exhibiting COVID symptoms. She was given three choices by the daycare facility: provide a negative COVID test, stay at home for 14 days or until the symptoms are gone, or get a note from the family doctor indicating that the child “probably doesn't have COVID and can likely return [after] being symptom free.” 

“They said they wouldn’t accept him at the doctor’s office, so we had to get COVID test. And obviously, as a working family, we can’t stay home for 14 days. You can’t do that,” the mother said.

The mother then called the COVID-19 Assessment Centre, but was informed that it doesn’t test children under the age of two. The mother was subsequently directed to the emergency department at Sault Area Hospital instead. 

Her spouse took the child to the emergency department Wednesday, and ended up sitting there with a sick child for more than four hours with “sick adults and injured people.” 

“And because he’s so low on the priority list, he wasn’t seen for hours on end,” said the mother. “You know, I’m pissed about it because they’re putting my kid at risk.”

The mother believes that SAH should start administering COVID tests for children under the age of two at the assessment centre on Drive-In Road. That way, her one-year-old child could’ve avoided the conditions at the emergency department.

“There was a woman there that couldn’t wear a mask and she’s coughing everywhere - and my kid’s sitting right next to her, and he can’t leave that area because he’s sick too,” she said. “Are you kidding me?”

The mad-as-hell mother has since reached out to the hospital to lodge a complaint. 

“They said they’d get back to me in five days - it was an answering machine that I got,” she said. “So I left a message, and I’m waiting for my five days. But I will be following up with them.”

She has also contacted the office of Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano and intends on lodging a complaint with Algoma Public Health. 

“Nothing is going to get changed unless someone makes noise about it,” she said.

SooToday reached out to the hospital for comment Thursday morning. Sault Area Hospital has yet to respond to that request.