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COVID-19 testing site set up as supplement in Red River College parking lot

A health worker collects a nose swab sample for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at the Mycorama coronavirus testing facility during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Cernier, Switzerland, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. File

Dr. Gerald Brennan wants to help.

That’s why he, along with medical colleagues from The Minor Illness & Injury Clinic on Corydon Avenue in Winnipeg, dons and doffs personal protective equipment to work at a new COVID-19 testing site set up adjacent to Red River College’s campus on Notre Dame Avenue.

Novel coronavirus cases — and deaths, a record 19 Saturday — are still surging in Manitoba.

It’s the second-hardest hit province after Alberta.

As of Saturday, 349 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Manitoba, 51 of whom are in intensive care.

Meanwhile, 2,981 tests were completed Friday, which brings the total number completed since the start of the pandemic’s reach into Manitoba to 369,154. 

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Read more: Record-breaking COVID-19 deaths reported in Manitoba Saturday

The appointment-only, drive-in site is a collaboration between Shared Health, the clinic and the college which began in October as a supplement to the province’s existing testing infrastructure, Brennan said.

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“It’s been fantastic to see these folks come together and put together something that’s pretty efficient and seamless in a short period of time,” Brennan said. 
“We’ve got a group of IT people, a group of doctors and nurses, we’ve got Red River College who’s been a fantastic partner, Shared Health, (the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority), everyone’s kind of pulled together so we were actually able to get this site up and running within a very short period of time to try and help out with the demand for testing.” 
Tests are booked online, which Brennan said cuts wait times down.
“We can make it so getting a test done can be done fairly quickly and with as little inconvenience to people as possible, that was our motivation,” he said, noting the average wait is about five minutes. 
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