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The Review

Addressing COVID-19 Assessment Centre Capacity

Posted On: Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Grey Bruce Health Unit and local hospitals are working together to increase testing capacity at area COVID-19 Assessment Centres where community testing is performed. The centres operate under the direction of local hospital corporations.

Addressing COVID-19 Assessment Centre Capacity

Hospitals are being encouraged to increase hours of operation and staffing numbers to accommodate demand.

The public can support Assessment Centres by ensuring asymptomatic individuals (those who have never had symptoms) don’t present for testing unless advised otherwise by Public Health or a health care provider. If you are unsure of whether to visit an assessment centre, complete the provincial online COVID-19 self-assessment tool to evaluate your symptoms.

Anyone unable to attend a scheduled appointment is asked to immediately notify the Assessment Centre and cancel their booking. 

“The physicians, nursing staff, and admin staff at the assessment centers are burning the candle at both ends to ensure children and patients are not waiting. Although public health does not operate assessment centres, we will spare no resource or effort to support health care workers to provide testing to all people that need it in a timely fashion.” says Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health. “Our health care workers deserve all the support that they need, so they can ensure no children who are unwell with symptoms deemed by their provider to be possible COVID19 goes to sleep not tested.”

Local COVID-19 Assessment Centres are operated by Grey Bruce Health Services, South Bruce Grey Health Centre and Hanover and District Hospital.

Although not a public health mandate, the health unit has been providing medical directives to Long-Term Care and Retirement Home to allow for testing in these facilities. Public Health also continues to deploy staff in the field to ensure testing of vulnerable population such as on First Nations, and shelters, among others. Grey County Paramedic Services has also provided testing and are currently testing first responders. This has been supported with medical directive supplied by the Medical Officer of Health. 

Grey Bruce Health Services is opening up their Assessment Centre this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am. – 4:00 p.m. both days as a temporary measure to increase access and reduce the number of people waiting for a test. In addition, expanded hours during the week will permit an additional 200 people per week to get tested. In the past 14 days, 2000 tests have been done at Grey Bruce Health Services. All appointments must be pre-booked via phone at 519-376-1466 or online at www.gbhs.on.ca.

Over the last two weeks, Hanover and District Hospital has implemented measures to accommodate for the increased volumes at its COVID-19 Assessment Centre. The hours of operation have increased by 50%; open 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., with the last booked timeslot at 5:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday. The Centre has also increased staffing has been to promote patient flow. An online booking system will disperse the patient volumes more evenly across the operating hours. At the same time, walk-in patients continue to be seen alongside the booked appointments. Hanover and District Hospital continues to recruit nursing and registration staff to address current volumes and look at the expansion to weekend hours. Dates for weekends will be announced shortly. Patients can book online at hanoverhospital.on.ca

South Bruce Grey Health Centre has extended hours for the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at the Kincardine hospital to 10:00 a.m.to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. Cars will not be allowed to line up prior to 9:50 a.m. Since the return to school, volumes at the Kincardine Assessment Centre have increased dramatically. Daily averages have spiked from 50-75 at the end of August to 130-170 last week, and 300-350 this week, causing long lines of cars waiting to access the hospital and traffic congestion.

 

For More Information:

Dr. Ian Arra, MD MSc FRCPC ACPM ABPM

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

To arrange to speak with Dr. Arra, please contact Drew Ferguson at:

519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 ext. 1269 or d.ferguson@publichealthgreybruce.on.ca

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