News release – from Georgian Bay General Hospital
The Midland COVID-19 Assessment Centre is currently experiencing unprecedented demand for testing within the community. The centre, operated by the North Simcoe Family Health Team (NSFHT), has been working with its health partners to increase testing appointments for the community, including extending hours Monday to Friday and weekends.
“The Midland COVID-19 Assessment Centre has expanded its hours where possible to accommodate the increased demand for testing,” says Andrew Shantz, executive director, NSFHT. “Current demand has well surpassed the capacity of assessment centres across the province with limited health human resources to staff the centre and perform the swabs. We are increasing staff when possible and we ask for your patience and understanding when both booking a testing appointment and receiving your results.”
Given the extreme demand for testing, as of December 30, the provincial government announced new eligibility criteria to preserve testing capacity for those at highest risk of contracting COVID-19. Those considered to be a highest risk include patient-facing healthcare workers, hospitalized patients and individuals 70+ years of age with a risk factor (such as obesity, diabetes or kidney disease). A full list of those now eligible for testing can be found here: https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/1001387/updated-eligibility-for-pcr-testing-and-case-and-contact-management-guidance-in-ontario.
Members of the general public with mild symptoms are being asked not to seek testing. Individuals with symptoms indicative of COVID-19 can be presumed to be infected with COVID-19 and should initiate timely self-isolation to prevent transmission in the community. For more information on self-isolating, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-stop-spread
COVID-19 swabs completed at the Midland COVID-19 Assessment Centre are sent to a central laboratory in Toronto for testing. Given the surge in tests completed over the past two weeks, the central laboratories processing swabs are also experiencing a dramatic increase in volumes – the highest of the pandemic to date. Results of tests may be delayed up to four days. For those awaiting test results, they should continue to check regularly online and self-isolate.
The Emergency Department (ED) at Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) has also seen a significant increase in people seeking a COVID-19 test. The hospital is not a COVID-19 testing site and those who have mild or no symptoms should not attend the ED for a test.
“GBGH’s Emergency department is always here for you if you’re ill or injured,” says Dr. Vikram Ralhan, chief of staff and Emergency physician, GBGH. “If you think you have COVID-19 and are not experiencing symptoms, or have mild symptoms similar to a cold, please do not visit the ED for testing. Visiting the hospital for testing puts other vulnerable patients at risk of exposure to COVID-19.”
For a list of assessment centre locations across the province, please visit:
To book a COVID-19 test at the Midland COVID-19 Assessment Centre based on the updated testing eligibility criteria announced December 30:
The operation of the Midland COVID-19 Assessment Centre has been a collaboration between partners – GBGH, the NSFHT, Centre de santé communautaire CHIGAMIK Community Health Centre, Wendat Community Programs and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.