LifeLabs closes 11 B.C. locations, cuts hours at others amid Omicron staffing crunch

The union that represents employees of LifeLabs says the temporary closure of 11 labs and reduced hours for several more could have been avoided, if employees had been better-equipped to deal with the Omicron outbreak. Ted Chernecki reports.

British Columbia’s major private lab service provider is the latest to face staffing problems as a result of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

LifeLabs says it has been forced to close 11 locations and reduce hours at five others due to the “spread of Omicron and related protocols which have resulted in severe employee impacts.”

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“This change was implemented to maintain consistent and reliable service for our customers and reduce increased pressure on our teams,” the company said in a statement on its website.

“To maintain service in the community, we will be re-deploying affected staff (from those sites) to nearby, central locations. Customers and healthcare providers will be re-directed to those nearby locations.”

LifeLabs operates 129 locations in British Columbia.

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In a statement, B.C.’s Ministry of Health said it was monitoring the situation “to ensure that outpatient laboratory services continue to be accessible in B.C. communities.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has previously warned businesses to expect up to a third of their staff to be sick or isolating at once as the pandemic’s fifth wave peaks.

Airlines, restaurants and other sectors have already cut service due to staffing problems.

The locations affected by temporary closures are:

  • Surrey City Centre (#103 9639 137A Street, Surrey)
  • Nicola (202-321 Nicola Street, Kamloops)
  • Pitt Meadows (102-12195 Harris Road, Pitt Meadows)
  • Crestwood (107-6051 Gilbert Road, Richmond)
  • Yarrow (650 Fort Street, Victoria)
  • Hillside (1641 Hillside, Victoria)
  • Aberdeen (1150-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond)
  • Main and Keefer (204-180 Keefer Street, Vancouver)
  • Broadway (220-943 W. Broadway, Vancouver)
  • Lynn Vallet (305-1200 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver)
  • Laurel (104-888 W. 8th Avenue, Vancouver)

The locations affected by reduced hours are:

  •  Abbotsford (A8 33498 Bevan Avenue, Abbotsford)
  • Cedar Hill (1590 Cedar Hill Cross Road, Victoria)
  • Kerrisdale (2061 W. 42nd Avenue, Vancouver)
  • Burrard (208-1200 Burrard Street, Vancouver)
  • Colwood (582 Goldstream, Victoria)

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