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COVID testing lines have been extra long of late. Photo: William McGinn.

COVID testing demands see RMH line-ups extend to Sussex Street

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COVID testing lines have been extra long of late. Photo: William McGinn.

Lineups to get a COVID test at Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) have seen drastic growth, sometimes stretching all the way down Kent Street to Sussex Street.

While the hospital averages about 200 tests a day, just three days ago RMH saw a record 394 people.

According to Kelly Isfan, president and CEO of the hospital, Monday is typically the busiest day of the week – but overall, the amount of demand for tests is on the rise right now.

With the arrival of the long-anticipated cold and flu season and reopening of schools, plus an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases across Ontario, some line-ups have had wait times of up to six hours in some cities. Some clinics have even been forced to turn people away.

Isfan said the RMH has performed more than 20,000 tests in the past six months – roughly the population of Lindsay. Isfan told the Advocate that some of those arriving to the RMH are from out of Lindsay, and a handful as far away as Beaverton and the York region, according to Global News.

“We frequently see people with home addresses outside of our area. This could be for a variety of reasons,” explained Isfan, “but no matter what the reason, as a community, as a province and as a country, we are in this together. It is common for City of Kawartha Lakes residents to access specialized care and services at regional centres elsewhere [too], as people navigate our healthcare system in a variety of ways.”

Not every hospital is able to provide a drive-through option, she points out, which many people find convenient.

The CEO says the hospital hopes to soon offer more options for testing in our community, including pop-up assessment clinics. “We recognize there have been times where the wait has been long, as volumes fluctuate day to day,” says Isfan, “and the community’s patience is appreciated.”

Medical experts say COVID-19 is not an immediately detectable virus in the body. It can linger for days before symptoms begin and can still spread from careless carriers. Yet with more concerns now in the forefront, it should not be harder for individuals to get tested, according to Isfan. “The province has been very clear – no one should be denied a test,” she says.

Ontario has announced, starting Friday, that up to 60 pharmacies will be doing free tests, by appointment. You can learn more at https://covid-19.ontario.ca .

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