Crowds overwhelm COVID-19 assessment centre in Barrie

Health officials say only show up at the assessment centre if you have symptoms you cannot manage at home

The President and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre today urged people to do a self-assessment before coming to the COVID-19 assessment centre.

Janice Skot said people could do a self-assessment by going on to the RVH website.

The assessment centre opened for the first time at two on Monday afternoon and closed at 6 p..m., two hours earlier than planned because close to 100 people showed up.

Skot said hundreds of people had come to the assessment centre by Tuesday afternoon.

The centre, located at 490 Huronia Road, in the back of the building of the Eagle Ridge complex does not provide testing for COVID-19 on site.

Only seven people as of Tuesday had received a request to go to the RVH emergency department for a swabbing.

Skot said she appreciated the heightened anxiety.

“Please only come to the assessment centre if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and they are not minor in nature that you could manage at home.”

In that case, an individual should to go to the assessment centre where they will meet with a health care professional and be asked a series of questions, and if it is necessary to administer a test, the person will be directed back to RVH to be tested.

“Clearly between supply and human resources we are going to have difficulty meeting this demand if we continue this way.”

Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner said they will be shortly moving to open an assessment centre in Collingwood and they have others in mind.

He said there are local physicians looking at doing virtual assessment as a means of giving better access for people to be assessed.