Kent Street West was effectively down to one lane midday on Tuesday for several town blocks, as scores of people lined up to get tested for COVID-19.
In what is now being called Ontario’s second wave of the pandemic the province posted record number of cases this past week, albeit clustered mainly in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa.
The province also shifted its messaging five days ago from everyone can get a test if they want to asking that asymptomatic people refrain from getting tested unless they fall under certain criteria.
“We encourage anyone who would like to get a COVID-19 test to first take a self-assessment,” says Amanda Carvalho, communications and public affairs officer at RMH, which can help determine next steps.
These next steps may simply include “self monitoring, self-isolating, visiting a pharmacy for testing, or visiting an assessment centre.”
Carvalho wanted to emphasize RMH’s assessment centre is located at the hospital, not at the fairgrounds.
“We’ve had people showing up to the fairgrounds. There is an incorrect Google maps listing still live, despite attempts to report it,” she says.
She says on higher volume days, “and only as staffing and resources allow, we have been diverting some of the assessment centre line to the fairgrounds.”
“This helps us keep the traffic around the hospital flowing and to better serve those waiting. The fairgrounds is not a full or permanent assessment centre, and we ask that no one proceed to the fairgrounds unless they have been advised to do so by our staff.”
Seek testing at an assessment centre only if:
o You are showing COVID-19 symptoms;
o Your public health unit or the COVID Alert app notifies you that you have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus
o You live or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified by the local public health unit.
o You are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative as determined by the Ministry of Health or Ministry of Long-Term Care
Population groups that can currently access a test at an assessment centre if they are asymptomatic include:
o Residents or workers in long-term care homes
o Visitors to a long-term care home
o Residents or workers in homeless shelters
o International students that have passed their 14 day quarantine period
o Farm workers
o Indigenous communities
o Other setting-specific populations, as outlined in CMOH guidance (e.g., asymptomatic cancer patients).