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First COVID-19 screening clinic opens on the West Island

Click to play video: 'New coronavirus screening clinic opens on the West Island' New coronavirus screening clinic opens on the West Island
WATCH: One of the 25 new screening clinics for COVID-19 in Quebec opened Friday morning in Beaconsfield – Mar 20, 2020

The CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal opened its first COVID-19 screening clinic in the West Island on Friday.

The clinic, located in Beaconsfield, is presently operating on a trial phase until it officially opens early next week.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — How Quebec’s specialized clinics work

“It is a positive thing but it’s also a necessity,” said Gregory Kelley, MNA for Jacques-Cartier.

“Having this clinic in the West Island is important, as we are trying to test more.”

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the province, efforts to increase testing have ramped up.

On Wednesday, health officials announced the opening of 25 new testing clinics in the province, with others expected to be added in the weeks to come.

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The Quebec health ministry says it has some 3,000 tests a day, with plans to increase capacity to 5,000.

READ MORE: Batshaw project in Beaconsfield still marred by delays

The new screening clinic will operate out of the future Batshaw Youth Centre.

The centre, which was originally supposed to open in 2015 to house at-risk youths and young offenders, has been plagued with delays.

It is now slated to open in fall 2020.

“It is literally a war situation. We need to use all our resources, whatever is available,” Kelley said.

The clinic will offer screenings every day of the week for the West Island population.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Montreal-area medical clinics adapting to new reality in the era of COVID-19

CIUSSS officials stress that the clinic is only accessible by appointment.

Individuals who believe they have mild symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to call the 1-877-644-4545 hotline for an appointment before coming to the clinic.

A hotline specifically for the West Island has also been set up for those who have questions concerning the novel coronavirus at 514-630-2123.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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