Stratford COVID-19 Assessment Center Now Accepting Online Reservations

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Due to a surge in demand recently, appointments for COVID-19 testing at the drive-through assessment center at Stratford General Hospital can now be booked online.

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The Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance on Thursday launched a new booking tool on its website.

Anyone wishing to have a test can make an appointment, but priority is given to people with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been referred to the assessment center either by Huron Perth Public Health or their doctor in family.

Hospital officials are encouraging those wishing to take a test to begin the process using Ontario’s virtual self-assessment tool.

“We need to sort people out to make sure those who need a swab the most get it as soon as possible,” said Andrew Williams, chief executive of the hospital alliance. “We’ve said from the start that doing the online assessment is a good first step and if you have any issues or concerns contact your primary care provider. That said, people are encouraged to contact the assessment center directly and confirm a reservation. “

Those without a family doctor can call Huron Perth Public Health at 1-888-221-2133 ext. 3267.

The hospital alliance’s new online booking tool is part of a larger response to increasing wait times at the assessment center that also includes increasing staffing levels. Williams said Thursday’s appointments have already been made for early next week.

“It’s definitely a very, very busy place, to put it bluntly,” he said. “With the reopening of schools and the increase in the prevalence (of COVID-19) in other parts of the province, we have seen a huge increase in the number of calls we are receiving.”

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Assessment centers outside the hospital alliance umbrella in Goderich, Listowel and Grand Bend are also seeing a significant increase in demand, Williams added. Some of this pressure is being passed on to neighboring counties.

“I wouldn’t say that’s a problem,” Williams said. “We have a public health system and people should be able to get care where they want, but I think we would prefer people to at least try first in their local community.”

Same day testing is not available in Stratford and walk-in tours are not accepted.

Ontario’s testing capacity, a concern for the provincial government earlier in the pandemic, is again strained, especially as COVID-19 continues to escalate in Toronto, region. in Peel and in Ottawa, arousing the fears of some experts known to the province. the start of a second wave.

Premier Doug Ford addressed the issue Thursday while outlining his government’s plans to mitigate a second wave this fall, which includes $ 1.07 billion to expand testing and case and contact management.

“We have put over $ 1 billion on the table to help track, trace and isolate COVID-19 cases through the country’s largest and most robust pandemic testing initiative,” said Ford. “By increasing our daily testing capacity to 50,000 tests and closely monitoring our long-term care homes and schools, we can respond quickly to any epidemic and outbreak and stop the spread of this deadly virus in its tracks.”

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