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Assessment Centre sees rise in COVID-19 testing

Despite lower levels of COVID-19 compared to other jurisdictions, COVID-19 testing is on the rise in Chatham-Kent.

According to Lori Marshall, President and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, the low level of spread compared to other jurisdictions in the province has helped matters, but testing volume has risen.

“I think the last few days we’ve had about 200 people a day,” said Marshall.

The typical volume is about 100 people per day. In early August, approximately 500 people were being tested daily, which included the assessment centre as well as tests conducted by EMS staff at various mobile testing clinics.

In the event demand for tests starts to rise locally, Marshall said the CKHA is currently in discussions to develop alternate arrangements for testing.

“That includes adding some additional rooms in the current centre and expanding our hours. We are also currently looking to see if there is an alternate location, as it might allow us to have a larger footprint and more convenience for people attending,” said Marshall.

According to Marshall, while CKHA is able to handle a higher demand, the aim is to avoid having people line up to wait for a test.

“We really need a larger facility, more parking, those kinds of things, particular now that we’re moving into colder weather,” she said. “We don’t want people waiting outside. We’re looking at really all of those logistics.”

The province announced some new COVID-19 testing guidelines for Ontario, which could lead to fewer people attending assessment centres.

Provincial officials said they are shifting their focus away from untargeted asymptomatic testing.

Effective immediately, Ontarians should only go to an assessment centre if they are:

– Showing COVID-19 symptoms

– Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your Public Health Unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app

-A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your local Public Health Unit

-Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Those seeking a test are encouraged to book in advance online or by phone.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News

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