Want to get tested for COVID-19? Here’s where the GTA’s pop-up assessments will be this week
TORONTO -- Mobile pop-up assessment centres have started to appear in Scarborough this week as part of the Progressive Conservative government’s plan to ramp up testing for COVID-19 in Ontario.
The Scarborough Health Network (SHN) launched its first mobile pop-up assessment centre on Friday at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, a mosque near Neilson Road and Finch Avenue. According to the SHN, about 100 people showed up at the pop-up to be tested for the novel coronavirus.
On Tuesday morning, a couple dozen people could be seen lining up outside the pop-up assessment centre at the Global Kingdom Ministries near Markham and Ellesmere roads. One doctor and eight nurses were on site to conduct the tests.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has made it clear that officials should now be testing anyone who wants to know if they have COVID-19, regardless of their line of work and whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.
“I think this is a great setup,” Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said while visiting the area on Tuesday. “It’s great to see a lineup here already. I think that people are anxious, they may not be feeling well or they may just be concerned that they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, so having places in convenient locations where people can drop by and get tested is exactly what we want.”
A registered nurse working at the mobile assessment centre said the pop-ups are for people who are afraid of going to the hospital to be tested for the disease, who may need a test in order to return to work, or those who want peace of mind to “be confident in their movements around the community.”
“It can be very disheartening to hear some of the stories but we would rather test somebody and let them know whether they are negative or positive and get them treatment they need and deserve,” Samantha Mildren said.
Here is where the Scarborough Health Network’s pop-up centres will be located this week:
• Tuesday June 2: Global Kingdom Ministries
• Thursday June 4: Lester B. Pearson collegiate Institute
• Friday June 5: Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute
• Monday June 8: Scarborough Centre for Alternative Studies
There are also 12 assessment centres set up across the city providing consistent daily COVID-19 tests.
The pop-up centres are part of the Ontario government’s new testing strategy, which was unveiled late last week, meant to target identifiable groups that may be at risk of infection.
Workers such as Toronto’s first responders and LCBO employees were ordered to undergo testing last week, along with staff at certain adult correctional facilities, hospital staff and workers at various congregate residential settings.
Premier Doug Ford announced the launch of “mobile testing teams” at the same time, saying that they will be “rapidly deployed to any hotspots in Ontario.”
In the Woburn neighbourhood where the pop-up assessment centre is open on Tuesday, for example, there have been 219 lab-confirmed confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Going forward, the province plans to expand testing to a variety of different workplaces, including manufacturing, construction and agriculture.
All pop-up assessment centres will operate between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in partnership with Toronto Public Health and Ontario’s Ministry of Health.