COVID-19 testing available at McNabb Arena as Ottawa sees increase in demand for children testing
A long line forms at the McNabb Arena in Ottawa on Saturday for a pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic. (Jeremie Charron/CTV News Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- A pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic in downtown Ottawa will remain open for another week amid increased demand for tests, especially among children.
Ottawa's COVID-19 Testing Taskforce partnered with Canadian Health Labs to open the temporary assessment centre at McNabb Arena. Last weekend, parents and children lined up for over two hours to get a COVID-19 test, with more than 600 people getting tested at the clinic.
The centre at 180 Percy St. will be open daily until next Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Individuals six months and older are eligible for testing services at the clinic.
The clinic is no longer accepting walk-ins; you'll need to book an appointment online.
Parents have complained about a lack of appointments for children and youth at the CHEO Community Assessment Clinic at Brewer Arena. As of 1 p.m. Thursday, the earliest appointment available at the CHEO Clinic is Saturday afternoon, with dozens of appointments available on Sunday.
There are appointments available on Friday at the McNabb COVID Centre.
On Tuesday, a total of 2,604 swabs were processed at assessment centres in Ottawa. There were a total of 518 tests at the CHEO Assessment Centre, and 247 tests at the McNabb Assessment Centre.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said Wednesday that the testing partners are exploring different options to increase COVID-19 testing capacity in Ottawa.
"We have seen across all of the testing sites run by our partners that the demand is up, especially for children," said Etches.
"Our testing partners have been making adjustments to be able to meet that demand. One thing that has been put in place is more support on weekends, so there's a third party at the McNabb Centre now offering tests."
Etches adds the Montfort Hospital will be adding weekend hours at the COVID-19 Care and Testing Centre at the Ray Friel Centre.
The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Centre is also exploring different innovations, including do-it-yourself testing at the centres and take home tests at Ottawa schools. Earlier this week, Etches told the Board of Health that approximately 127 Ottawa schools now have take-home tests for students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms.
The medical officer of health is also urging people to cancel appointments if they no longer need it or can't make it to a testing clinic.
"Sometimes we're seeing, even up to 25 per cent of the time, people aren't keeping those appointments. If people aren't able to make the appointment, we do recommend that people cancel their booking to make room for others."