Toronto man creates website to help track wait times for COVID-19 test

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TORONTO – Aside from the swab itself, for many residents of the Greater Toronto Area, the biggest pain in getting a COVID-19 test has been the wait. “I went to the drive-thru Etobicoke and was quoted a five hour wait to start,” Ben Harris told CTV News Toronto. “So frantically I went looking among my friends, messaging people, trying to find things online about another place I could go to take a test.” ”

Harris received advice that he would find shorter wait times in Brampton, but after spending much of the day trying to get tested, he realized there had to be a better solution.

“What I have to pack is that I wish someone had told me that the drive-thru in Etobicoke was five hours before I left my house, and the second thing was that I would have liked that there was a way to check the wait times before leaving so that I could make the most informed decision about where to go. ”

Not finding such a resource, Harris decided to create his own. The Toronto startup consultant designed and launched a website called covidwaits.com. The site provides information on waiting times.

“In the line, once you’re already here suffering from the wait time, I hope you can post something to help another Torontonian so they don’t have to have the same experience as you live, ”Harris explained. .

The website lists hospitals and health care centers in the Greater Toronto Area that offer COVID-19 testing, as well as current wait times and other information that could be useful for those who wish to be tested. test. Harris said the more wait times people post, the more accurate the site will be.

“It works best when people from each test center upload their wait times – and not just one, the more credibility we have the more credibility we have with multiple people uploading their wait times so that you can see, and that says on the site, four people, five people, whatever corroborates the wait time, so that you can feel good that the information is correct. ”

Harris said he designed the site in such a way that privacy is not a concern for users.

“I don’t want to know anything from anyone. All I want to know is which test center you are referring to and what the wait time is. Other than that, nothing. There’s no login, no user tracking, nothing. ”

And Harris said he’s not monetizing the website. His only reward will be to help others.

“The experience I have had is not unique and I know that there are a lot of people who are going through a similar situation,” he said. “I know that during this pandemic we are all in the same boat, we all have something to contribute. So I thought this was something that I could contribute and I hope it helps me. “

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