Keeping their social distance, heavily monitored by security, hundreds lined up to get tested for COVID-19 as the new downtown Montreal walk-in clinic opened to the public on Monday.
Located in the heart of the city’s Quartier des spectacles on Jeanne-Mance street, people wearing masks arrived by car and by foot to the new testing site.
The new open air clinic will see more than double the capacity of its predecessor, according to the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Ile-de-Montreal.
It has replaced the current “by-appointment” clinic at Hotel-Dieu hospital, which closed Sunday.
The new centre is expected to significantly boost the number of tests performed on the island of Montreal.
Health officials say the clinic is able to accommodate between 2,000 and 2,500 people daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
The new addition is the third COVID-19 testing clinic on the island of Montreal.
The public is triaged in their vehicles and on foot before testing by a team of about 200 nurses.
If it’s determined that they need to be screened, they are directed to park their cars and proceed to testing area.
All tests are being done in a heated tent but authorities are advising people, especially pedestrians, to dress for the weather.
People who went through the process tell Global News the screening went efficiently and only took them an hour and a half.
To qualify for the coronavirus test, officials say that persons need to have symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, have travelled or have been in close contact with a confirmed case.
Officials are asking people to not take public transit to get to the testing site.