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Montreal’s east end gets new COVID-19 testing clinic

Click to play video 'Indoor, drive-thru COVID-19 screening clinic opens in Montreal’s east end' Indoor, drive-thru COVID-19 screening clinic opens in Montreal’s east end
WATCH: Some parts of Montreal's East end are considered COVID-19 hot zones. In an effort to respond to increasing demands and to take inclement weather in to consideration, a new drive-thru screening clinic has been opened in the underground parking lot at the Olympic Stadium. As Global's Olivia O'Malley explains, mobile clinics have also been dispatched to other neighborhoods – Oct 19, 2020

A new permanent drive-thru screening clinic for COVID-19 is open in Montreal’s east end starting Monday.

The testing centre does not require an appointment and works on a first come, first served basis. It is only accessible by car on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Centre Pierre-Charbonneau on Viau Boulevard.

The Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS), the regional health authority, says the clinic was set up as the winter season looms.

Caroline St-Denis, a director with the CIUSSS, said the clinic can see up to about 400 people per day at the moment and there are 30 employees on site.

“People really appreciated the testing in vehicles so we wanted to repeat the operation in terms of snow and rain,” she said.

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Montrealers on foot or with reduced mobility who require a novel coronavirus test are being asked to opt for the Chauveau screening centre since the one at Centre Pierre-Charbonneau is hard to access on foot. As of Monday afternoon, the waiting time for Chauveau is up to 30 minutes.

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There are several other sites in the city’s east end, including four mobile testing units, under the CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal’s umbrella for this week. St-Denis says mobile testing clinics see about 60 people per day.

Montreal public health says a COVID-19 test is only required in one of the two following situations: a person has symptoms of the virus or has recently come into close contact with someone who has contracted it. Vincent Thiboutot says he showed up at the clinic after experiencing stomach pains.

“Better safe than sorry cause if I have it, well, at least I know that’s what I have and I’ll act accordingly,” he said.

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The new centre comes as Montreal has seen a rise in new infections linked to the virus and a partial lockdown is underway until at least Oct. 28.

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Carole Boiry said she was pleased about the new site because it is closer to her home compared to the Chauveau testing location. After using the self-assessment tool online, she decided it would be best to get a test.

“That is a good motivator to have a place not far I am very happy,” she said.

There have been more than 39,000 cases and 3,500 deaths in the region, which is a designated red zone, since March.

— With files from Global News’ Olivia O’Malley