A new COVID-19 testing centre is now open at the former Barrie Police Service headquarters at 29 Sperling Dr. as the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) plans to close the assessment site at the hospital.
The new Sperling Drive site opened Monday for people who book appointments in advance, although later this week, RVH says the centre will begin to provide drive-thru testing from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“Our onsite COVID-19 test clinic has seen an overwhelming spike in visits recently, going from an average 230 people per day to a staggering 500 or more,” RVH’s vice-president of patient programs, flow and chief nurse executive, Liz Ferguson, said in a statement.
“To help meet testing demand, the City of Barrie has generously provided RVH use of the Sperling Drive site.”
The coronavirus testing centre at RVH has reduced its hours to 9 p.m. to 3 p.m. each day of the week for drive-thru visits only, before it plans to completely relocate to the Sperling Drive site to protect staff from the imminent inclement weather.
By November, RVH says the Sperling Drive clinic will become a full COVID-19 assessment centre, offering similar services to those that are offered at the site on Huronia Road.
Last week, Ontario’s health officials updated testing criteria to prioritize those who are at greatest risk of contracting COVID-19, while moving away from testing people who are asymptomatic.
That means people should only seek testing at a COVID-19 assessment centre if they have coronavirus symptoms, have been exposed to a confirmed case, live or work in an environment that has had a COVID-19 outbreak or are in a high-risk group.
Other asymptomatic individuals can get a COVID-19 test at one of a number of pharmacies that are now offering testing across Ontario.