London COVID-19 assessment centres see over 500 people in busiest day yet

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) will shift to red-control on Tuesday. Sawyer Bogdan/Global News

The Middlesex London Health Unit is reporting the coronavirus assessment centres saw their greatest number in visits since opening their doors.

London’s Medical Officer of Health Chris Mackie said the centres – located at the Oakridge Arena and Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre – saw over 537 people on Monday.

This was in response to comments Premier Doug Ford made over the weekend, encouraging people to get tested even if they were not showing symptoms to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: COVID-19 assessment centre opens in London, Ont.

“It’s great people have stepped up and taken up the call to get tested. I am much happier to see lines there than empty lines,” Mackie said.

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“The fact that people in this area realize they have a role to play in addressing this pandemic by coming forward and getting tested, it’s a huge benefit in the fight.”

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He said the day that came closest to those numbers was the second day the testing centres first opened, which saw around 500 people.

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Mackie is expecting similar results for the end of Tuesday, adding that not everyone who went to the centres was tested for COVID-19. He estimated that on Monday, they tested 350 people.

READ MORE: 1 death, 4 new coronavirus cases in London, Middlesex as local case tally hits 505

The centres had previously had to ration testing swabs due to lack of supply, but Mackie said that is no longer an issue, so people should not hesitate to get tested.

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He estimates people could possibly have to wait 20 minutes to get tested and recommends people go when the centres first open because they at when they typically are less busy.

Oakridge Arena at 825 Valetta Street is open Monday to Friday from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm and the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre at 656 Elizabeth Street is open from the same time seven days a week.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: London, Ont., COVID-19 assessment centre sees 318 people on Day 1

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

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. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

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