As of Monday, Merrittonians can book their COVID-19 tests online or by phone.

Merritt is one of five communities to announce the service on Monday, joining Cranbrook, Williams Lake, Trail, and Castlegar.

“Booking appointments online enhances patient safety and convenience by supporting physical distancing measures, preventing crowds, minimizing wait times, and allowing patients to book their appointments from the comfort of home,” reads a press release from Interior Health.

The booking tool can be found at www.labonlinebooking.ca/login .

Now in the pilot portion of the program, Interior Health will slowly expand the service to other communities within the health region.

During the pilot portion, lab bookings have transitioned from MyHealthPortal to the new system.

For those that choose to book by phone, the number is 1-877-740-7747. It is available from 8a.m.-7p.m. seven days a week.

Walk-in bookings continue to be available, though it is now encouraged to book either online or by phone.