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Coronavirus: Port Hope Community Hub in Canton to be third testing site in Northumberland County

Click to play video 'Port Hope area COVID-19 asymptomatic test site to launch Nov. 4' Port Hope area COVID-19 asymptomatic test site to launch Nov. 4
Northumberland County will be getting a third COVID-19 testing site, this time in Port Hope. Noor Ibrahim has the details. – Oct 28, 2020

Health officials are preparing to open a new COVID-19 testing site in the Municipality of Port Hope, which would be the third site in Northumberland County.

According to the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland (OHT-N), a third dedicated testing site for asymptomatic patients will be at the Port Hope Community Hub (formerly the Canton Municipal Hall) at 5325 County Road 10, just north of Canton in the Municipality of Port Hope, a few kilometres north of the town of Port Hope.

“We wanted to be able to have an area where it was accessible to many,” said Linda Davis, spokesperson for the OHT-N and president and CEO of Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg. “The Municipality of Port Hope Mayor Bob Sanderson was very generous to be able to offer up a space within Canton.”

The site will begin operations on Nov. 4 and continue Monday, Wednesday and Thursday each week. Testing is by appointment only by calling 1-905-377-7783.

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“The specific aim of the Canton COVID-19 testing centre is to provide another local option for those without active symptoms, such as those who require a test because they wish to visit a loved one in an area long-term care home, or those who may have been exposed in a work or school setting,” said Davis.

“This new service in Canton will provide another option for these people, thereby adding capacity at our existing sites to cater to those with COVID-19 or other respiratory-like symptoms. On behalf of the OHT-N members, I thank the Municipality of Port Hope for their support in this work.”

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Davis says the site is expected to test 50-60 individuals per day, but that could change based on demand. Currently, the site is set to be run by one paramedic, and one nurse practitioner.

The Canton location joins the existing sites at Northumberland Hills Hospital, which Davis says is currently testing close to 100 individuals a day, and the Trent Hills testing centre in Campbellford, testing almost 50 individuals per day.

Testing is also available on an emergency basis via the emergency departments at both Northumberland Hills Hospital and Campbellford Memorial Hospital, and in a ‘pop-up’ capacity through the Community Paramedicine team of Northumberland Paramedics.

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To date, the OHT-N says the pop-up support has responded to unique needs as they have arisen at a range of long-term care and retirement homes, Alderville First Nation and various congregate living settings, such as Transition House shelter.

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“This initiative is a tremendous example of how community collaboration and shared resources can benefit residents throughout the County, and we are proud to participate in this proactive approach alongside OHT-N,” stated Bob Sanderson, Warden of Northumberland County and Mayor of the Municipality of Port Hope.

“This partnership streamlines the testing process, will allow more people to get tested, and will hopefully result in shorter wait times at the centres. I commend the OHT-N and their team for the careful planning and delivery of these services amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Read more: Coming days will be crucial in Ontario’s fight against 2nd wave of COVID-19, expert says

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In an effort to free up much-needed space within the Northumberland Hills Hospital’s emergency department, where the centre is currently being operated, and minimize traffic in and out of the main hospital site, the hospital will also transition its COVID-19 Assessment Centre around Oct. 28 to the new self-enclosed trailer that has been set up on the lawn immediately in front of the emergency department entrance.

No change to services is anticipated. Signage will direct patients accordingly.

On Tuesday, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit reported one new case of COVID-19 in Northumberland County. There are now two active cases in the county among the 48 reported since the pandemic was declared in March.