Technical issues stall drive-thru COVID-19 assessment centre booking
Ottawa Health personnel speak with a driver before administering a COVID-19 test at a drive-through test centre in Ottawa, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
OTTAWA -- Ottawa's new drive-thru COVID-19 assessment centre on Coventry Road has been much quieter than the main assessment site at Brewer Arena, and part of that can be attributed to issues people are having with booking.
In order to use the site, which allows you to get a COVID-19 test without leaving your car, you have to book an appointment online through the Ottawa Hospital.
Orléans Coun. Matt Luloff addressed problems some people are having with the online booking process at City Council on Wednesday.
"I'm really happy to have additional capacity at Coventry Road, at the drive-in site," he said. "The booking system for Coventry isn't working properly. We're hearing a lot of complaints about the inability of people to use the system or they're timing out before getting booked."
The Ottawa Hospital admits there have been issues with the online booking process.
"We are aware of some technical issues with the booking website for the drive-through COVID-19 Assessment Centre on Coventry Rd., and are working to resolve them as soon as possible," a spokesperson for the hospital said in a statement to CTV News.
"As the website was launched last week, staff anticipated that there would be a period of adjustment to volumes of residents booking appointments, and available bookings are gradually increasing as staff optimize processes at the centre. We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank everyone for their patience while we address this."
Luloff also called on Ottawa Public Health to expand testing capacity to the east end and other rural areas of the city and to make more testing available to children.
"With the return to school, children can't be tested [at the drive-thru site]," he said. "Wait times are down across the city, but they're still high. The current testing centres in the city close at 3:30 or 4 p.m. It's been over three months that representatives in the east have been working to identify sites and we still don't have a site in the east end. We need to increase capacity for children and in the east end and the rural areas. Despite their great work, I feel the Ottawa Hospital is failing us on testing in rural areas and the east."
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches addressed Luloff's points to ask all councillors to speak to general practitioners in their wards.
"Talk with the primary care providers in your communities about what they can do to offer testing in their offices," she said. "That really is the most distributed model that we have across the city. The hospitals are only going to have so many fixed sites that they can run. To get more on the ground access, it's going to take primary care as well."