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School COVID-19 testing requirements, long lines at centres frustrating for families

Michelle Coates Mather says she had to get both of her children tested at different facilities just a few days apart, and says the process took five hours both times.
2020-09-16 waiting moodie covid-19 clinic
Child waits outside of Moodie COVID-19 Care Clinic, September 16, 2020. Photo/ Michelle Coates Mather

Some Ottawa parents are not only sick of waiting hours in long lineups to get their children tested for COVID-19, but worry that with school testing requirements so stringent, kids will end up spending more time out of the classroom than in it.

Michelle Coates Mather's two children recently returned to school amid the pandemic, but all it took, as per school board requirements, was a cough for each of them to be sent to get COVID-19 tests.

After getting her daughter tested over the weekend at the Brewer Arena COVID-19 Assessment Centre, her son then had to receive a test on Wednesday at the Moodie Drive care clinic.

Coates Mather says it took around five hours at each centre for her children to receive a test.

She thinks five hours is an "exceptional amount of time" for families to put aside in order to get tested for the novel coronavirus.

"We all want to do our part, we don't want to send our kids to school sick," Coates Mather explains. "But this is not sustainable."

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced Wednesday that the Brewer Arena site would start operating between 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, but The Ottawa Hospital has since said the centre is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with access to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and that it is working on ways to further expand hours as needed.

Meanwhile, the hospitals are expected to be working to double capacity at the Heron Road and Moodie clinics and a new east Ottawa testing centre could be announced shortly, according to Ottawa's mayor.




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Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Village Media Community Editor, OttawaMatters.com
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