Since schools in Grey and Bruce counties re-opened, COVID Assessment Centres throughout the region have seen volumes for testing increase dramatically.
Daily averages at the Kincardine Assessment Centre, for instance, have spiked from 50 – 75 at the end of August to 300 – 350 this week (Sept. 21), resulting in long lines of traffic trying to access the hospital. To try to alleviate the situation, hours have been expanded and a system of booking appointments is being developed.
In Hanover, the Assessment Centre reports that it has seen its volume of testing quadruple since the end of August.
Two Assessment Centres have, in fact, developed systems for pre-booking appointments. In Owen Sound the hospital has moved to an on-line booking system and Hanover has also now initiated a pre-booking system in conjunction with walk-ins.
While local assessment centres are not under the authority or mandate of Public Health, Dr. Ian Arra, Medical Officer of Grey Bruce Public Health, in an open letter recently pointed out that testing people with no symptoms puts undue pressure on provincial testing capacity and delays the results for people that actually do have symptoms. “Delays in receiving results can pose significant risk to facilities that may be battling true outbreaks,” Dr. Arra says.
If unsure of whether to visit an assessment centre, complete the online COVID-19 self-assessment tool or school screening tool to evaluate symptoms (https://covid19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/).