Like other COVID-19 testing centres and assessment clinics across the province, the Guelph clinic is now moving to a model of accepting appointments for testing by phone only. At the same time, the Provincial government is touting its record of testing and its commitment to add capacity despite the fact that the medical staff on the frontlines of testing are overwhelmed.
Starting today, if you want a COVID-19 test at the Guelph assessment centre, or any clinic of centre, you will have to call ahead. The number you have to call in Guelph is 226-773-1922, and the phone lines will be open on weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm, and on weekends and holidays from 10 am to 3 pm. The operating hours for the centre will remain 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays, and 9 am to 4 pm on weekends.
The centre will only be taking bookings for the current day, and the following day. If the centre reaches its two-day capacity, people will be directed to call the centre the next day to try and book an appointment for the next available time slot.
The move to end walk-in tests in the province was announced last week as part of a number of new measures to combat the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
In terms of broader capacity, there is still only one place in Guelph to get tested, and that’s the assessment centre at 400 Southgate Drive. Although 77 pharmacies have been cleared in the province to administer tests by appointment, so far none have been established in Guelph.
Meanwhile at Queen’s Park today, the Provincial government offered further assurances that they are responding to the overwhelming need for testing while marking the “milestone” four-millionth COVID-19 test in Ontario.
“It’s clear from today’s milestone that we have the most robust, most comprehensive testing strategy in the entire country, and in fact, we have completed more tests than all the other provinces combined,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement Tuesday.
The current testing capacity of the province is 40,000 tests per day, and the government announced last week that it’s their intention to get up to 50,000 daily tests by the middle of the month, and then 68,000 daily tests by the middle of November.
“Our government is investing $1.07 billion to dramatically expand our testing capacity, launch more testing locations and add more case and contact management resources to trace and isolate new cases. We want to ensure that everyone who needs a test can get one quickly,” added Minister of Health Christine Elliot.
While the government touts its testing capacity, a Niagara Region MPP expressed concerns that there were people in her area waiting almost twice as long as advertised for their chance to get a test.
“A resident in St. Catharines is trying to get a COVID-19 test to see her dying grandmother in a nursing home,” said Jennie Stevens, the NDP representative for St. Catherines in a statement. “She called a pharmacy but was told she couldn’t get a test until October 23. Under distress she called the Niagara assessment centre last Friday, and the voice mail said they would return her message in 48 hours. The time it takes to get a return call has since doubled. A Niagara resident now has to wait three to four days.”