OTTAWA -- It was a busy first day for Ottawa's COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena, with 232 people tested for COVID-19. 

The COVID-19 testing facility at 151 Brewer Way opened at 12 p.m. Friday. It will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

There have been three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa so far.

The Ottawa Hospital says 372 people were registered and assessed on the first day of operations at the clinic. 232 of the patients received the full test for novel coronavirus.

"When you come to an assessment centre you're going to be asked some specific questions about your symptoms, they'll be an examination and your history will be reviewed," said Dr. Andrew Willmore of the Ottawa Hospital.

"Not everybody got swabbed because not everybody met criteria. I think it's really important for the public to know that if you come to an assessment centre, you don't necessarily get swabbed. It's only for those individuals of higher risk of contracting the coronavirus." 

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches says the Community Assessment Centre is opening to help increase capacity, and take pressure off emergency departments.

“It is important at this time to increase options for people to be tested for COVID-19 out of hospital.”

The Medical Officer of Health is urging people to check the Ottawa Public Health website for information before going to the Community Assessment Centre. 

In a statement, Ottawa Public Health says the Assessment Centre is for individuals who have:

1. Returned from international travel and are displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19, including:

  • Fever and/or
  • New or worsening cough

2. Had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days and are displaying symptoms associated with COVID 19, including:

  • Fever and/or
  • New or worsening cough

Dr. Etches told reporters at Brewer Arena Friday morning that not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19 immediately.

“It is a specific population that needs to be assessed for coronavirus at a centre like this. It is about determining whether someone needs to be tested with a nasal swab. So the people who we would test are folks who have travelled outside of Canada, and then within the 14 days after returning to Canada have developed respiratory symptoms like a cough or a fever,” said Dr. Etches.

Dr. Etches says the other people who would need to be tested are “people who have been close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.”

The COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre will be operated in collaboration with Ottawa Public Health, the Ottawa Hospital and CHEO.

Up to 400 people a day could be tested at the Community Assessment Centre.

Ottawa Public Health says additional COVID-19 Community Assessment Centres may open later as needed.

Brewer Arena

Coun. Shawn Menard says Brewer Arena was identified as the most suitable location for the Community Assessment Centre because “of its proximity to hospitals in the core, and the facility can accommodate the transportation demand, while being close to transit at Carleton University.”

The ice rink was melted earlier this week to prepare for the Community Assessment Centre.

Menard tells constituents that "we are expecting the Community Assessment Centre to be opened in the next couple of days, with the goal being Friday."

The Brewer Park Pool will remain open to the public because it’s in a separate facility.

City of Gatineau

The City of Gatineau will open a COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre on Saturday, March 14.

It will be open at 175 Boulevard Saint Raymond.

Officials say the centre can do 400 tests a week.