New testing site for COVID opens up as Hamilton grapples with back-to-school testing demand

News Sep 16, 2020 by Katrina Clarke Hamilton Spectator

A new COVID-19 testing centre is opening in Hamilton in response to a “significant” increase in demand for testing.

The increase coincides with students’ return to school.

According to a release from St. Joseph’s Healthcare on Tuesday, the new COVID testing centre will open at St. Joseph’s West 5th campus, located on the Mountain at 100 West 5th St. starting Wednesday, Sept. 16. Tests are by appointment only and bookings will be available in the “early evening hours” Monday through Friday.

The release states the location will expand when the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena drive-thru assessment centre closes in mid-October.

Dr. Ninh Tran, Hamilton’s associate medical officer of health, said public health saw a “noticeable jump” in demand for tests, with test bookings up “dramatically” in the past week as students return to school. Public health is fielding as many as 1,000 calls a day — far more than normal.

Most people booking tests don’t have symptoms and are booking for “peace of mind,” he said.

“They’re just wanting to get tested before school starts,” Tran said.

He said public health prioritizes testing people who are at higher risk of exposure: those who have been exposed to COVID-positive individuals and those who have symptoms. But he wouldn’t go so far as to advise those without risk factors to not get a test.

“I do get that some people want to do it for peace of mind,” he said.

However, he noted the test only shows you don’t have COVID at that point in time. You might have it the next day.

But it’s not just return-to-school jitters sending Hamiltonians to test centres.

Tran said public health has seen a “clear trend” over the last month of people gathering in larger groups or going to parties or cottages.

“Some folks are having a last hurrah before school starts,” he said. “It’s easier in a larger social setting, when you’re having fun, to get within the two metres.”

He noted earlier in the pandemic, when public health asked COVID-positive people about their recent activity, most people said “I was home most of the time.”

“Now, people are getting out and about,” he said.

He encouraged people to stick to their bubble of 10 and if they stray, to wear masks and practise physical distancing.

Health Minister Christine Elliott addressed increased demand for testing — and long lines associated with the demand — at the province’s daily COVID update.

“The good news here is that people are going to be tested,” Elliott said. “But they also deserve to be tested in a timely manner. We are aware that there are some significant lineups in many different parts of Ontario.”

Elliott said the province is looking at options for how to address demand, “whether it be through pharmacies, through labs, through other ways to enhance our assessment facilities.”

This past weekend in Hamilton, the Andreychuk arena handled approximately 250 tests each day, while the West End assessment centre saw just over 200 people a day, and the East End saw just under 200 Saturday and about 220 Sunday. Public health has said the centres were designed to complete 200 tests a day. Test-seekers are advised to book all appointments in advance to cut down on wait times at centres.

The Mountain arena, while a popular spot, was never intended to remain a testing centre in cold winter months.

When testing is put on ice, the arena will likely resume pre-COVID activities: hockey and skating.

— With files from Joanna Frketich

New testing site for COVID opens up as Hamilton grapples with back-to-school testing demand

Hamilton public health says it also appears some residents are partaking in a ‘last hurrah’ of the summer — flouting guidelines, partying or heading to cottages with large groups.

News Sep 16, 2020 by Katrina Clarke Hamilton Spectator

A new COVID-19 testing centre is opening in Hamilton in response to a “significant” increase in demand for testing.

The increase coincides with students’ return to school.

According to a release from St. Joseph’s Healthcare on Tuesday, the new COVID testing centre will open at St. Joseph’s West 5th campus, located on the Mountain at 100 West 5th St. starting Wednesday, Sept. 16. Tests are by appointment only and bookings will be available in the “early evening hours” Monday through Friday.

The release states the location will expand when the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena drive-thru assessment centre closes in mid-October.

Related Content

Dr. Ninh Tran, Hamilton’s associate medical officer of health, said public health saw a “noticeable jump” in demand for tests, with test bookings up “dramatically” in the past week as students return to school. Public health is fielding as many as 1,000 calls a day — far more than normal.

Most people booking tests don’t have symptoms and are booking for “peace of mind,” he said.

“They’re just wanting to get tested before school starts,” Tran said.

He said public health prioritizes testing people who are at higher risk of exposure: those who have been exposed to COVID-positive individuals and those who have symptoms. But he wouldn’t go so far as to advise those without risk factors to not get a test.

“I do get that some people want to do it for peace of mind,” he said.

However, he noted the test only shows you don’t have COVID at that point in time. You might have it the next day.

But it’s not just return-to-school jitters sending Hamiltonians to test centres.

Tran said public health has seen a “clear trend” over the last month of people gathering in larger groups or going to parties or cottages.

“Some folks are having a last hurrah before school starts,” he said. “It’s easier in a larger social setting, when you’re having fun, to get within the two metres.”

He noted earlier in the pandemic, when public health asked COVID-positive people about their recent activity, most people said “I was home most of the time.”

“Now, people are getting out and about,” he said.

He encouraged people to stick to their bubble of 10 and if they stray, to wear masks and practise physical distancing.

Health Minister Christine Elliott addressed increased demand for testing — and long lines associated with the demand — at the province’s daily COVID update.

“The good news here is that people are going to be tested,” Elliott said. “But they also deserve to be tested in a timely manner. We are aware that there are some significant lineups in many different parts of Ontario.”

Elliott said the province is looking at options for how to address demand, “whether it be through pharmacies, through labs, through other ways to enhance our assessment facilities.”

This past weekend in Hamilton, the Andreychuk arena handled approximately 250 tests each day, while the West End assessment centre saw just over 200 people a day, and the East End saw just under 200 Saturday and about 220 Sunday. Public health has said the centres were designed to complete 200 tests a day. Test-seekers are advised to book all appointments in advance to cut down on wait times at centres.

The Mountain arena, while a popular spot, was never intended to remain a testing centre in cold winter months.

When testing is put on ice, the arena will likely resume pre-COVID activities: hockey and skating.

— With files from Joanna Frketich

New testing site for COVID opens up as Hamilton grapples with back-to-school testing demand

Hamilton public health says it also appears some residents are partaking in a ‘last hurrah’ of the summer — flouting guidelines, partying or heading to cottages with large groups.

News Sep 16, 2020 by Katrina Clarke Hamilton Spectator

A new COVID-19 testing centre is opening in Hamilton in response to a “significant” increase in demand for testing.

The increase coincides with students’ return to school.

According to a release from St. Joseph’s Healthcare on Tuesday, the new COVID testing centre will open at St. Joseph’s West 5th campus, located on the Mountain at 100 West 5th St. starting Wednesday, Sept. 16. Tests are by appointment only and bookings will be available in the “early evening hours” Monday through Friday.

The release states the location will expand when the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena drive-thru assessment centre closes in mid-October.

Related Content

Dr. Ninh Tran, Hamilton’s associate medical officer of health, said public health saw a “noticeable jump” in demand for tests, with test bookings up “dramatically” in the past week as students return to school. Public health is fielding as many as 1,000 calls a day — far more than normal.

Most people booking tests don’t have symptoms and are booking for “peace of mind,” he said.

“They’re just wanting to get tested before school starts,” Tran said.

He said public health prioritizes testing people who are at higher risk of exposure: those who have been exposed to COVID-positive individuals and those who have symptoms. But he wouldn’t go so far as to advise those without risk factors to not get a test.

“I do get that some people want to do it for peace of mind,” he said.

However, he noted the test only shows you don’t have COVID at that point in time. You might have it the next day.

But it’s not just return-to-school jitters sending Hamiltonians to test centres.

Tran said public health has seen a “clear trend” over the last month of people gathering in larger groups or going to parties or cottages.

“Some folks are having a last hurrah before school starts,” he said. “It’s easier in a larger social setting, when you’re having fun, to get within the two metres.”

He noted earlier in the pandemic, when public health asked COVID-positive people about their recent activity, most people said “I was home most of the time.”

“Now, people are getting out and about,” he said.

He encouraged people to stick to their bubble of 10 and if they stray, to wear masks and practise physical distancing.

Health Minister Christine Elliott addressed increased demand for testing — and long lines associated with the demand — at the province’s daily COVID update.

“The good news here is that people are going to be tested,” Elliott said. “But they also deserve to be tested in a timely manner. We are aware that there are some significant lineups in many different parts of Ontario.”

Elliott said the province is looking at options for how to address demand, “whether it be through pharmacies, through labs, through other ways to enhance our assessment facilities.”

This past weekend in Hamilton, the Andreychuk arena handled approximately 250 tests each day, while the West End assessment centre saw just over 200 people a day, and the East End saw just under 200 Saturday and about 220 Sunday. Public health has said the centres were designed to complete 200 tests a day. Test-seekers are advised to book all appointments in advance to cut down on wait times at centres.

The Mountain arena, while a popular spot, was never intended to remain a testing centre in cold winter months.

When testing is put on ice, the arena will likely resume pre-COVID activities: hockey and skating.

— With files from Joanna Frketich