LIMOGES — The parking lot at Calypso Water Park has temporarily transformed into a new COVID-19 testing centre, starting today, as a number of agencies pool their resources to drain demand from the region’s other overburdened assessment sites.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), Ontario Health East and paramedics from both Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and Prescott-Russell have teamed up at the Limoges attraction. Located just off highway 417 at 2015 Calypso Street, the new “temporary” drive-through centre was slated to open today (Thurs., Sept. 24) and operate seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Testing will be open to everyone over one year old, according to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.
“We’re opening the temporary testing centre in Limoges to alleviate the demand at our other testing centres,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “The number of individuals coming to our testing centres over the last few weeks has far surpassed our capacity. This new centre will increase access to COVID-19 testing for our region’s residents and shorten wait times.”
Like so many attractions this year 2020, the pandemic had otherwise prevented Calypso Theme Water Park from opening to the public in the usual way this past summer.
The EOHU says the additional testing site will help identify cases faster, to more quickly isolate them and follow up with contacts. “As the number of COVID-19 cases across our region and the province increases, having the ability to quickly perform testing and contact tracing will help us once again flatten the curve,” adds Dr. Roumeliotis.
The Limoges testing centre is the seventh established in the EOHU’s jurisdiction.
EOHU changing priority population for testing, away from the asymptomatic
Due to the surge in testing volumes in the region and across the province, the EOHU says it is prioritizing tests for individuals that have symptoms of infection — a reversal of the province’s prior policy this summer encouraging the asymptomatic to get tested. (Dr. Roumeliotis in a media briefing last week reported that testing of the asymptomatic would stop, and Ontario officials today announced restrictions largely having that effect.)
Tests are also being prioritized for close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and residents or workers in outbreak settings that are recognized by their local health unit.
Individuals who have been referred by a health care professional or who require testing to meet Ministry guidelines — with those planning a visit to a Long-Term Care facility in that category — have priority as well.