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Steady traffic at Gananoque COVID-19 test site

The Leeds Grenville Paramedic Service pop up COVID-19 assessment centre that opened in Gananoque on Monday was well received and was “doing really well,” according to Jeff Carss, chief paramedic.

“The volumes have been steady all day. We should see about the same volume or slightly more than we saw on Friday in Athens,” said Carss, adding that by 2:45 he estimated that 300 people had already been tested.

The pop-up was supposed to open at 10 a.m. but opened a little earlier because the paramedics were already set up and couldn’t see any point in delaying when there were already between 30 and 40 cars waiting to get through, said Carss.

After the rush, Carss said, the volumes dropped to a steady 10 to 15 cars at any given time.

On her way to work this morning, Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke spotted the lineup and dropped in.

“I just dropped off some sweets, coffee and lemonade, (it’s hot outside today!) to say thank you to all the EMS professionals working hard today and every day,” said Smith-Gatcke.

Smith-Gatcke said having these pop-up clinics is immensely valuable for residents of Gananoque and her township.

“People are very stressed about finding testing so they can return to work, send kids back to school or visit loved ones in care. Having these pop-up testing centres takes the load off the central testing centres in Kingston and Brockville, while giving some respite to locals not having to spend all day in line,” said Smith-Gatcke.

Although Gananoque Mayor Ted Lojko was tied up in meetings all morning and couldn’t get to the test site right away, he said he’d heard it was moving along smoothly. Lojko said he’s anxious to know when the next pop-up assessment centre will be deployed in Gananoque so that residents can plan their trip.

“We don’t have a firm schedule yet, things are a bit fluid right now,” said Carss. “We will try to give as much lead time as possible and hope to get a schedule of upcoming pop-up assessment centres out later today or tomorrow.”

Right now the next scheduled pop-up was scheduled for Prescott on Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Prescott Public Works Garage, at the corner of Sophia/Industrial. Access to the site will be off Industrial. Anyone attending a pop-up testing centre is asked to bring a mask, health card, and driver’s licence.

This initiative is a partnership between Brockville General Hospital, Leeds Grenville Paramedic Service, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit and local primary care providers.

For information about other local COVID-19 assessment centres, and future pop-up centres and mobile testing, visit the health unit website, follow the health unit on social media, or call 1-800-660-5853.

Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative, Brockville Recorder and Times

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