One week after the City of Côte Saint-Luc declared a state of emergency and imposed a ban on religious and mass gatherings in an effort to contain the COVID-19 virus, the province is giving residents and the mayor a dose of relief.
“Kudos to Legault and his team for bringing the testing here,” said Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. “We want to find out who in our community is positive.”
The Montreal island suburb has been hit hard with recent coronavirus outbreaks at the King David residence and at the Congregation Beth Chabad synagogue.
“King David is a very big concern,” said Brownstein, referring to the current hospitalization of at least three elderly residents.
READ MORE: Côte Saint-Luc urging public to take precautions after COVID-19 cases confirmed in community
Many community members are on edge considering about one-third of the population is over the age of 65.
One longtime resident who is currently in isolation with her elderly parents was relieved to see the screening clinics being set up on Wednesday morning.
“I have no idea how our mayor pulled this off,” said the resident, who goes by the name Sandy Dubya on Facebook. “We all need to thank him for doing everything he can to keep us alive, safe and healthy.”
Construction crews spent much of the day building the tents required for the drive-thru testing facilities. The mayor was told they should be able to test about 500 patients a day, starting Sunday.
“People will stay in their car, they won’t have to get out,” said Brownstein, adding that anyone can use it as long as they have an appointment.
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The city made the following announcement on its Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon:
“On Wednesday, March 25, workers began setting up a drive-through testing facility in Côte Saint-Luc. The facility is NOT YET OPEN. Do NOT visit it today. When it eventually opens, we have been told it will be by appointment only. When the health ministry officially announces it and provides all the details, we will share the info. In the meantime, please do not visit or interfere with the workers setting up.“
The social media post generated mixed reactions online.
“Bless you for getting this here,” one user wrote. Others felt the installations are too close to home.
“This is unsafe for the residents in the area whose homes border the parking lot,” reads one comment.
“It’s too close to residents who live around Cavendish Mall,” wrote another user. “Most of the kids play in their backyard.”
The mayor refused to take all the credit for new the screening clinic in his community, insisting the initiative comes from the provincial government.
“It’s what we wanted,” Brownstein told Global News. “I’m happy the premier and health minister are listening.”