CHEO, The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) and Ottawa Public Health (OPH) say they've been preparing for a boom in residents wanting COVID-19 tests, and it looks like that time has arrived.
Residents lined up for hours outside of the Brewer Arena COVID-19 Assessment Centre on Monday, September 14, and the healthcare providers say staffing levels have been tripled at the centres in the last month for testing children and youth. More are still expected to be hired and trained as well.
In addition, CHEO, TOH and OPH say hours of operation at the Brewer centre are being bumped to 12 hours a day, seven days a week -- that's an increase of four hours per day -- as soon as possible.
The hours for the drive-through centre on Coventry Road are also being extended eventually, and the health providers say technical issues related to the booking system have been resolved.
"We knew that with the kids returning to school we would see these volumes," they explain in a statement, Monday. "There have been record-setting volumes at the Brewer Assessment Centre in recent days."
CHEO, TOH and OPH say they're doing all they can to address long line-ups at the centres.
Between the four testing sites (Brewer Arena, Coventry Road, Heron Road and Moodie Drive), TOH says they averaged about 2,000 people tested each day last week. Over the weekend, just Brewer and Coventry Road saw about 1,500 per day.
In the meantime, the three health providers say, even if you've been instructed to get tested because you may have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, "it is important to know that testing is only recommended for individuals showings signs and symptoms of COVID-19, unrelated to pre-existing conditions and individuals who have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19."
The healthcare providers say it's best to wait five days since contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for the test to be as accurate as possible.
For more information on locations and hours, visit Ottawa Public Health’s website.