Drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre to run out of arena on Hamilton mountain

A third COVID-19 assessment site is opening up in Hamilton.

Starting Friday, a drive-thru testing centre will be operating at the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena.

The test site will run between 11a.m. and 3 p.m. this weekend from Friday to Sunday, and will be running in addition to the existing east and west end assessment centres.

Operating hours beyond this weekend will be shared soon, according to the city.

The drive-thru location will be run by the Hamilton and McMaster Family Health Teams and will be staffed by primary care clinicians.

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Although the provincial criteria for COVID-19 has expanded, the process for testing remains the same, which means a referral from a family doctor or public health is required for screening.

Testing criteria now includes symptomatic individuals from vulnerable populations including health-care workers, first responders, and children attending essential daycare.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton’s medical officer of health, said the expanded criteria is great news, as the city’s public health department currently has all the supplies they need to ramp up testing.

The wait time for test results has also decreased dramatically. At one point, she said, it was taking as long as 10 or 11 days for those results to come back.

“Considering the fact that people have usually been sick for a few days before they go to get tested, that’s a very long time to wait,” said Dr. Richardson.

“So those numbers are well down. Often times we’re getting results within 48 hours. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer because that lab capacity is still moving around.”

Since Hamilton’s first two assessment centres opened on March 16, public health has seen 2,850 visits and 2,270 people have been tested.

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