Ottawa parents scramble for COVID-19 testing appointments
OTTAWA -- With parents scrambling to find COVID-19 testing appointments for their children in the capital this weekend, Ottawa's COVID-19 Testing Taskforce says more appointments for children will open up at the Brewer Arena as staffing levels increase.
The taskforce overseeing COVID-19 testing in the capital says it is working to secure the staffing and resources needed to "rapidly expand and meet the increasing testing demands", including other testing options.
A long line with a two-hour wait was reported at a new pop-up COVID-19 Testing Clinic set up at the McNabb Arena on Percy Street Saturday afternoon.
"Every other testing option, you had appointments and it wasn't until like three-four days from now, that's a little too late," said Jason Perrier.
Parents tell CTV News Ottawa they were waiting to get COVID-19 tests for their young children, so they can return to the classroom.
"Everyone is doing their best, but the idea that they close the testing centres on weekends and only doing pop-ups the first week back to school - It seems counterproductive to me," said Samantha Franklin.
Ottawa Public Health announced the walk-in clinic at the McNabb Arena would be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday to provide another testing option.
Parents have also complained about a lack of same day appointments for testing at the CHEO Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena. On Friday morning, one parent said the earliest appointment for a COVID-19 test at the CHEO Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena was Sunday morning.
As of 3 p.m. Saturday, the earliest appointment for a COVID-19 test at the CHEO Assessment Centre was Monday afternoon. Both the COVID-19 testing facility for adults at Brewer Arena and the COVID-19 Drive-Thru Clinic at the Ottawa Baseball Stadium have appointments available on Sunday.
The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce says approximately 100 new appointments were opened up on Friday at the Brewer Arena.
"CHEO Brewer handles approximately 400 tests per day and have opened an additional 80 spots for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning," said the Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce in a statement to CTV News Ottawa late Friday afternoon.
"Slots open up as they can once staffing is secured or as people cancel their appointments. To avoid delays, we encourage those who are seeking testing to check frequently for updated times."
Ottawa's COVID-19 assessment centres and care clinics have a capacity to test about 2,000 people each weekday, with fewer tests performed on weekends.
The CHEO Assessment Centre and Kids Come First Care Clinic at Brewer Arena is open for children ages two months to 18 years old. The COVID-19 care and testing centres on Moodie Drive and at the Ray Friel Centre offer testing to anyone over six months old Monday to Friday. The COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre at the Ottawa Baseball Stadium on Coventry Road offers testing for anyone 10 and older.
Testing for children older than six months is also available at the Centretown Community Health Centre and the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre.
"We want to thank the community for their patience as we work to secure the staffing and resources needed to rapidly expand and meet the increasing testing demands," said the Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce.
"As the demand for testing services has been increasing, we continue to successfully provide ongoing testing services across Ottawa. Assessment centres have extended hours of operation, test results are being received within 48 hours and testing options are being explored."